Call for Essays on Agha Shahid Ali’s Poetry

24 February 2012
Call for Essays on Agha Shahid Ali’s Poetry
Deadline: 15 May 2012

Mad Heart, Be Brave: On the Work of Agha Shahid Ali

Edited by Kazim Ali

In the books Agha Shahid Ali published in his lifetime, he exerted an enormous influence over the contemporary poetry scene. Combining traditional forms with a distinctly experimental approach to language and the line, Ali was lauded by poets as varied as Anthony Hecht and John Hollander to Donald Revell and Michael Palmer. In the decade since his passing, Ali’s influence continues to be felt and with the recent publication of ‘The Veiled Suite: Collected Poems’ his work has been made available to a new generation of readers.

Essays critically engaging the poems of Agha Shahid Ali are invited for a collection focusing on his work.


- Ali’s adaptation of traditional Western forms including the canzone, Sapphic stanzas, villanelle and pantoum
- Political uses of poetry, particularly the Kashmir conflict
- Ali’s adaptation of Eastern forms including the ghazal (written and sung) and nauha or mourning poem (particularly in Rooms Are Never Finished)
- Mythologies in Ali’s work (ranging from Brothers Grimm to Karbala stories)
- Innovations by Ali in the prose poem or lyric essay
- Essays that perform close readings on individual poems or sequences
- Ecopoetics in Ali’s work (particularly Nostalgist’s Map of America)
- Appropriation and collage in Ali’s work (particularly in Call Me Ishmael Tonight)
- Gender or sexuality in Ali’s work
- Postcoloniality in Ali’s work
- Ali’s pedagogy and work as a teacher, editor or translator

Suggested essay length: 3,000-6,000 words

Dateline for abstract/proposal of 250-500 words: May 15, 2012

Dateline for completed essays: October 1, 2012

Send abstract/proposal to Kazim Ali at:


Kazim Ali is the author of three collections of poetry as well as four books of prose, including most recently Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence, published in the University of Michigan Poets on Poetry Series and is co-editor of Jean Valentine: “This-World Company,” published in the University of Michigan Press Under Discussion Series. He recently became co-editor of both series. Ali is an associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College.


For inquiries/ submissions:
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