Agha Shahid Ali
was born on February 4, 1949 in New Delhi and grew up Muslim in Kashmir. He earned a Ph.D. in English from Pennsylvania State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Ali held teaching positions at Hamilton College and the University of Utah and was director of the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts — Amherst. He also taught at New York University, Princeton University, and Warren Wilson College. His volumes of poetry include Call Me Ishmael Tonight; Rooms Are Never Finished, a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award; The Country Without a Post Office; A Nostalgist’s Map of America; A Walk Through the Yellow Pages; and The Half–Inch Himalayas. He is also the author of T. S. Eliot as Editor, translator of The Rebel’s Silhouette: Selected Poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and editor of Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English. Ali received fellowships from The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Ingram–Merrill Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation and was awarded a Pushcart Prize. Ali succumbed to brain cancer on December 8, 2001 in Amherst, Massachusetts. He was 52.