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The Parthian Stations
Categories: 21st Century, British, LGBTQ+
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (106 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2007)
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.'
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