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Shahr-E-Jaanaan: The City of the Beloved (Paperback)
Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize. SHAHR-E-JAANAAN sets out to recreate the universe of Urdu and Persian poetic tradition, its tropes both lenses and mirrors for the speaker's reality. As she maps her romances onto legends, directing their characters perform her own tragedy, their fantastical metaphors easily lend themselves to her fluctuating mental state. Cycling between delirious grandeur and wretched despair, she is torn between two selves--the pitiable lover continually rejected, and the cruel, unattainable beloved comparable in her exaltation to a god. SHAHR-E-JAANAAN explores, interrogates, and distorts these dichotomies and their symbolism, calling into question the forces that elevate some to divinity even as they damn others to injustice and oppression.
About the Author
Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a Pakistani American poet, singer, and translator of Urdu and Persian poetry. She is the author of What Is Not Beautiful (Glass Poetry Press, 2018) and her book Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved is a winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Poem-A-Day, Gulf Coast, Meridian, The Margins, and elsewhere. A Best of the Net finalist and a Pushcart nominee, Adeeba holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and is the recipient of an Emerging Poets Fellowship from Poets House.
“I fell captive to the spells of its stories—Scheherezade and her command over wild nights of imagination come to mind. Maybe it’s the way Talukder manages to both evoke Urdu poetic tradition and create her own—these poems swoon with the restrained sensuality of the old world while dancing with the glittering passions of the new. Let yourself get caught up in this book’s wondrous whorls and whirls—you won’t regret it.
—Tarfia Faizullah, author of Registers of Illuminated Villages and Seam>
“After everything we thought we knew about ourselves, and our loss, there is more to find: ‘When the color left / my cheeks,’ the poet writes, ‘You / left too.’ This book is an exquisite lyrical feast.”
—Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa
“Adeeba Talukder’s City of the Beloved hovers on the nexus of heartache and joy, a meeting point of arrival and exodus, and where love is the revolving door to the world of the unknown. Recalling the concision and scintillating acumen of Emily Dickinson, Mirabai, Rabia and Sappho, and drawing on the masters of Urdu and Persian poetry, Talukder renders a full world of heart, soul, and body, profound and daunting, sensual and sacred, enchanting and redeemable. This is a beautiful, stunning and unforgettable book.”
— Khaled Mattawa, author of Mare Nostrum