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The Parthian Stations
ISBN: 978 1 857548 72 3
Categories: 21st Century, British, Gay and Lesbian
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2007
216 x 135 x 8 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
At Khirab Shems
a dark, handsome man danced
above the arches of a church.
I was possessed by
a contradictory nostalgia
for things I had never known,
for emptiness: the recesses of Bamiyan
The document known as 'The Parthian Stations' is an account of the overland route from Antioch to the borders of India in the first century BC. John Ash's own Parthian Stations begins with his departure from New York to Istanbul. It is a journey, as he writes, not so much between contrasting cities as 'between different / versions of the same city', to a place that is exotic and familiar, spanning West and East, past and present, where cultures and histories intersect. It holds memories and encounters: time dissolves, but it is also vividly real, with buses, restaurants and meetings with friends. Precise, witty and unpredictable, John Ash writes as the watchful outsider, with the insights of a resident. The Parthian Stations continues his exploration of what it means to be a part of a culture, to celebrate what is loved and ultimately unknowable.
Praise for John Ash 'A little querulous, perhaps? Never mind. This may be the most auspicious debut of its kind since Auden's.'
'John Ash could be the best English poet of his generation.'
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