by Adeeba Shahid Talukder
Tupelo Press, 2020
Paper: 978-1-946482-29-7
Library of Congress Classification PS3620.A596S53 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

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.

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