Originally published in Willow Springs 10

About Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Photo: www.poets.org

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born at Sialkot in 1910. Educated at Government College in Lahore and at Punjab University Oriental College, he began his career as a lecturer but gave this up to work with illiterate people, teaching them to read. After the Second World War he worked as a journalist and was editor of The Pakistan Times for many years. He has many critical essays and poems published, and is considered the most significant poet in Urdu after Iqbal. He died in Lahore in 1984, shortly after receiving a nomination for the Nobel Prize.

Agha Shahid Ali was born in New Delhi on February 4, 1949. He grew up Muslim in Kashmir, and was later educated at the University of Kashmir, Srinagar, and University of Delhi. He earned a Ph.D. in English from Pennsylvania State University in 1984, and an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona in 1985.

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. He held teaching positions at the University of Delhi, Penn State, SUNY Binghamton, Princeton University, Hamilton College, Baruch College, University of Utah, and Warren Wilson College. Agha Shahid Ali died on December 8, 2001.