This article offers a close reading of three early modern Persian lyric poems: a ghazal by Ṣā’ib Tabrīzī (d. 1676) and two response poems (javābs) by Bīdil Dihlavī (d. 1721) and Ḥazīn Lāhījī (d. 1766). In these ghazals, all three poets venture into a shared wilderness of metaphor, where each poet maps new meanings for geography and exile, homeland and strangeness, state of mind and sense of place. An intentionally dynamic collocation of reality and abstraction is shown to be a pivotal feature of all three ghazals, although the resulting lyric landscapes are quite different in each case. The article concludes by suggesting that close analysis of lyric poetry, in addition to the rich range of meanings, values, and attitudes it brings to light, can also open up new avenues for approaching more general questions of style and geography—including the question of the “Indian style”—in the early modern Persianate world.
Research Article|December 01 2017