Joseph Donahue

  • Exile Returned

    Arriving in the United States from India in 1975, Kashmiri author Agha Shahid Ali pursued both graduate degrees and his art. While quickly successful in the world of writing programs and academic presses, he explored in his poetry how readily expatriation could come to feel like exile. But as his collected poems, The Veiled Suite, make clear, he worked hard to find in such exile if not his true home, at least a safe house, as in book after book until his untimely death in 2001 he measured the distance between East and West.

    Admittedly, this distance has been closing for a while. From the


    Turns out, it took a while for God to die. He lingered, barely coherent, through the first years of the last century, until He understood that modern poetry would happen. Then He seemed at peace and let go, knowing the universe would soon fill with imaginative new forms as poets reinvented the divine. Generations of twentieth-century poets did just that. And among contemporaries, no one has made so much of heaven’s silence as Jay Wright, whose verse constitutes a humane, enduring, and fiercely thought-out redivination of the world. His work evokes the fervor that underlies the creation of myths,