Biography of Rafey Habib
M. A. R. Habib (Rafey Habib) is an Indian-born Muslim poet and scholar of literature who has also written numerous books of literary criticism. He was born in India, grew up in England and now lives in America.
He is a scholar in the areas of literary criticism, theory and philosophy. He is a Professor of English and the author of seven books, including three histories of literary criticism, a study of T.S. Eliot's philosophical background, and two translations of Urdu poetry. His own volume of poetry, Shades of Islam: Poems for a New Century, appeared in September 2010. His latest book, Literary Criticism: From Plato to the Present: An Introduction, was published in 2011.
His interests also extend to Islamic philosophy and literature, as well as postcolonial studies. He believes that it is a matter of some urgency to foster an improved mutual understanding between the Islamic world and Western cultures. He has given numerous talks on various aspects of Islam, such as Islam and Democracy, and is currently working with colleagues at Rutgers University to establish a cultural diversity of courses, including Islamic literature in English translation.
Rafey Habib's Works:
(2010). Shades of Islam: Poems for a New Century (Kube).
(2007). Modern Literary Criticism and Theory: A History (Blackwell).
(2005). A History of Literary Criticism: From Plato to the Present (Blackwell). This has been praised in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, which described it as "serious, ambitious, informative and intellectually challenging. Readers who are serious, ambitious, eager to learn material that is not always easily accessible, and open to intellectual challenge will be those who will profit most from it."
(2003). Editor and translator, An Anthology of Modern Urdu Poetry in Translation (Modern Language Association).
(1999). The Early T.S. Eliot and Western Philosophy (Cambridge University Press).
(1991). The Dissident Voice: Poems of N.M. Rashed: Translated from the Urdu (Oxford University Press).
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Rafey Habib Poems
To A Suicide Bomber
You do not speak for me: You who soak yourselves in blood Are far from the prophet's mantle.
To My Wife Yasmeen
I shall fall in Love with You again. For the first time
The high-handed man, solicitous Untamed your demons; what passion Seethed within you to be kissed again, To be insulted, and restored,
If, in ten years, you should come to me, broken, Your following relationships failed, your Thighs bloated with cellulite, your cheeks fattened, your spouse Uncaring; if then you should tell me
To Yasmeen, After Nine Years
The Years have not dared to Touch your Beauty Which sings in the music of eternal spheres; In you, all is harmony, radiance, wholeness;
Friends (Advice To My Children)
Few things will hurt you more Than the envy of old friends. Sometimes, their silence will reach you Across vast oceans. You will hear it, weighing
Glorious are You, in Your Aloneness, your Pale eternal splendour Beckons, in whose
Here, within your white, white walls I can stand Alone with You, the Alone;
Enshrouded in the high mantle of night. The darkness of idols, greed in business, Abuse of orphans, widows, women.
Perhaps this is the way Our world will end: not In biblical flood, or burning Apocalypse, but in deep beauty:
An Autumn Garden
Fall is nowhere More beautiful than here: green leaves Tipped with red; rich orange divesting Into yellow; green lawns strewn
Beautiful, O woman not mine, you Awake in me that old passion, the demon I thought, with Plato, lay dormant, mimicking Death; you cannot know how many years
To Yasmeen February 14, 2003
What I have loved in you Is a world shimmering, like a white sea, Unmoved, sailing upon itself, Whose unknown depth of richness
A Poem For Neda (Elections In Iran)
Neda. Sweet voice, Of freedom, unborn. Your state totters.
If, in ten years, you should come to me, broken,
Your following relationships failed, your
Thighs bloated with cellulite, your cheeks fattened, your spouse
Uncaring; if then you should tell me
You wished you had given yourself to
Me, that night, all those years ago, when
Sitting on a couch I had touched your cheek; if
The emptiness of all these years is what it has taken
To make you wise, to open your