- Series: Columbia/Hurst
- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press (July 17, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231704046
- ISBN-13: 978-0231704045
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,488,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Poetry of the Taliban (Columbia/Hurst) Hardcover – July 17, 2012
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Afghanistan has a rich and ancient tradition of epic poetry celebrating resistance to foreign invasion and occupation. This extraordinary collection is remarkable as a literary project -- uncovering a seam of war poetry few will know ever existed. Yet it is also an important political project, humanizing and giving voice to the aspirations, aesthetics, emotions, and dreams of the fighters of a much-caricatured and little-understood resistance movement about to defeat yet another foreign occupation.(William Dalymple, author of The Return of a King: Sha Shuja and the First Battle for Afghanistan, 1839--42 )
By turns angry, idealistic, or cynically witty, these Taliban poets can leave none unmoved by verse that conjures up Persian metaphysics, Muslim traditions, and a Pashtun quest for honor. Indeed, as triumphs and ruination test these mujahedeens' faith in God, some even echo the shock, sense of betrayal. and despair of Britain's First World War poets.(Hugh Pope, author of Dining with al-Qaeda: Three Decades Exploring the Many Worlds of the Middle East)
These poems of love, war, and friendship tell us more about Afghanistan than a million news reports. Anyone claiming to be an Afghan expert should read this book before giving their next opinion.(Mohammad Hanif, author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes)
A remarkable and important work. In Poetry of the Taliban, we see that within the movement there are warriors with wounded hearts, lyrical souls, and a passionate love for language and ideas.(Jon Lee Anderson, author of The Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan)
A highly original and extremely important book that sheds more light on the Taliban and its resilience than any organizational chart or force assessment. It draws attention to the crucial role aesthetics and emotions -- as opposed to resources and doctrines -- play in military organizations. As such, this may be the first poetry book of strategic significance.(Thomas Hegghammer, author of Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism Since 1979)
An essential work. In compiling the poetry of the Taliban, these young scholars have preserved the intimate and the expansive, ranging from pastoral imagery of the Afghan countryside to satire on global politics and rich references to Afghan, Muslim, and biblical history. In the process, they go beyond humanizing the Taliban toward understanding them. A Taliban the world knows as culturally backward have in fact inspired a corpus of poetry reflecting the finest accomplishments of Pashto, Farsi, Urdu, and Arabic civilizations. If anyone still wonders which cultural resources the Taliban drew on to inspire a people to resist a dull global plan to modernize them, read on.(Michael Semple, Harvard University, former European Union representative in Afghanistan)
The most shocking emotion the book inspires isn't fellow feeling with the butchers of Afghanistan; it is delight. The pleasure of Poetry of the Taliban is its most upsetting feature.... Such poetry is profoundly revealing of the psychology of our enemy. Culled from cellphones, websites and cassettes, the Poetry of the Taliban bears little, if any, relation to official al-Qaeda "literature" with its idiotic, dull, unreadably boring dogmatism. There is politics in this collection but little ideology, little talk even of Islam. The verse burns with immediacy of reality. It's full of alternately witty and grotesque bragging.... The publication of this anthology is as depressing as it is revelatory. Poetry of the Taliban is a celebration of indestructible despair, of unending destruction and resurgent beauty. It is as harrowing a portrait of Afghanistan as any piece of reporting I have read.(Stephen Marche Maclean's)
A welcome addition to the growing, largely non-fiction, archive about the Taliban. Much of the poetry here appeals to the heart rather than the head, engendering sympathy for the speakers' plight. That these poems put us in this uncomfortable place is the most impressive achievement of the anthology.(Daljit Nagra The Guardian)
A brave and useful project... offers a perspective on the conflict through the Other's eyes, something worth more than a library full of cold analysis.The Guardian(Robin Yassin-Kassab The Guardian)
There is much shock and some awe in this mixed collection, and the editors are to be applauded for beginning "our" education in this troubled and troubling literature.Times Higher Education(Times Higher Education)
These poems expose something of the full, textured, deeply conflicted humanity of those who actively consume and recirculate them; those who may be insurgents while also being human. In providing such a picture, the 'insurgent' is restored a sense of humanity and agency, and even (as the editors note) an accountability for violence that would be impossible from a mere avatar.(James Caron, University of Pennsylvania)
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Otherwise the poems, many of them naively moving, are very well commented upon and put into context.