Summer Reading List #004 Review: The Rebel’s Silhouette: Selected Poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Agha Shahid Ali

Ha … so, I feel a tad like a failure right about now. I finished reading The Rebel’s Silhouette, a selection of Faiz Ahmed Faiz poetry by Agha Shahid Ali, a long time ago. I’ve been trying and failing, to forge words to best articulate my thoughts and feelings after reading this magnificent selection. But all the words I gathered felt inadequate in comparison.

Then I figured, simplicity. Simplicity is best.

agha-shahid-ali
Agha Shahid Ali

I loved this selection and translation by Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001), a great poet in his own right. Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) invokes striking imagery and touches on philosophy and politics in his poetry. Painting scenes of love, longing, heartbreak, and heartache. At one moment a young boy in love, in another, a young boy whose sees the travesties of the World he lives in. And in another, a prisoner longing for home.

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Faiz Ahmed Faiz

For those unfamiliar with Faiz, as I was before my friend loaned me this book. Briefly, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Lenin Peace Prize recipient, revolutionary poet, intellectual and has had a great influence on Pakistani and Indian literature and art. His poems are written mostly in Urdu, becoming one of the most best-selling Urdu poets, and Punjabi. Faiz is also celebrated for his poems in traditional Urdu forms, such as the ghazal, of which there are many throughout this book.

I highly recommend you grab a copy of  The Rebel’s Silhouette. I got my copy on loan and I’ve since given it back, but you can get your volume if you so choose, from Book Depository.


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