Moving on in the dark like some ghostly train in the desert, Agha Shahid Ali's A Nostalgist's Map of America charts a painful passage through wastes of history and nature on the way to Hope, an ever-receding horizon illuminated by the cold sapphire glimmerings of evening stars. His Night Train pursues an impossible destination that he names evanescence, the vanishing point and moment when fixities evaporate and possibilities waver is in the air to condense, through poetic resolve, into rare forms of ephemeral beauty like Black Iris in the wilderness.



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