“Her hands full of earth, she kneels, in red suede high heels:” Planting a New Language in Diaspo/Renga

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi This past summer, news of the Gaza massacres came most revealingly in images and videos taken with cell phones— the devices originally intended to connect us through voice, chronicling instead the horrors befalling Palestinians in real time, horrors that defy conventional language, and will not be chronicled with fidelity by the…

The Qasida as a Vehicle of Desire in Lorca’s “Casida De La Rosa”

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi Federico Garcia Lorca’s casidas are free adaptations of the Andalusi-Arabic qasidas, which he had read in Spanish. In Robert Bly’s English rendition of Lorca’s casidas, the flavor of the classical Arabic qasida form has been preserved to a considerable extent, even though it reaches us through various levels of distillation: first,…

“Saying” the Ghazal: Duende and Performing the Courtly Art of the Ghazal

by Shadab Zeest Hashmi Mughal miniature showing a poetry reading, c. 1640-50 The ghazal entered my consciousness first as music (on Radio Pakistan or my parents’ LPs), accessible only through melody, beat, rhyme, refrain; the poem’s literary heft, of course, utterly lost on me. The ghazal was really a visceral stimulus in my pre-language existence…