Waqas Khwaja

Agnes Scott College Box #1091 141 East College Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 
4044715056

Author's Bio

Waqas Khwaja is Professor of English at Agnes Scott College, where he teaches courses in Postcolonial literature, British Romanticism, Narratives of Empire, Gothic literature, Victorian poetry and fiction, Literature and Leadership, and Creative Writing. He has a Ph.D. in English from Emory University, and LL.B. from the Punjab University Law College, Lahore, as well as a fellowship from the International Writing Program (IWP), University of Iowa. Khwaja has published four collections of original poetry, his latest, Hold Your Breath (2017), the others, No One Waits for the Train (2007), Mariam’s Lament (1991), and Six Geese from a Tomb at Medum (1987), in addition to Writers and Landscapes, a literary travelogue about his experiences with the IWP, and he has edited three anthologies of Pakistani literature, Cactus, Mornings in the Wilderness, and Short Stories from Pakistan, representing work by Pakistani authors originally written in English as well as poetry and fiction from Urdu and Punjabi in English translations he undertook especially for these publications. He served as translation editor (and contributor) for Modern Poetry of Pakistan, a National Endowment of the Arts project, which showcases the work of 44 poets from seven of Pakistan’s national and regional languages and has guest-edited a special issue of scholarly articles on Pakistani Literature for the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. A regular contributor to The Frontier Post, The Pakistan Economic Review, The Pakistan Times, News International, The Nation, and The Friday Times between 1983 and 1992, Khwaja was a practicing lawyer and visiting professor of law in Pakistan before migrating to the U.S. in 1994 to pursue an academic career in literature. He has published articles and essays on writers from a variety of linguistic and cultural traditions and on subjects as wide-ranging as literature and economics, history, culture, and politics. A special issue on Pakistani poetry that he guest edited for Atlanta Review was released in Spring 2014. His poems and translations have appeared in US, Pakistani, European, and Far Eastern publications, literary journals, and anthologies. Khwaja regularly organizes poetry readings for social and political causes and arranges open public readings annually at Agnes Scott College as part of the international “100 Thousand Poets for Change” project.

Publications and Prizes

Books: 
Hold Your Breath
(The Onslaught Press, 2017)
, Mariam’s Lament and Other Poems
(Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1991)
, No One Waits for the Train
(Alhambra Publishing, 2007)
, Six Geese From a Tomb at Medum
(Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1987)
, Writers and Landscapes
(Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1991)
Anthologies: 
A Dragonfly in the Sun
(Oxford University Press, 1997)
, Modern Poetry of Pakistan
(Dalkey Archive Press, 2011)
, Mornings in the Wilderness: Readings in Pakistani Literature
(Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1988)
, Poetry and Voice
(Cambridge Scholars Press, 2012)
Journals: 
Atlanta Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Wild River Review
Prizes Won: 
"Special Recognition for Outstanding Creative Writing," South Asian Literary Association, an affliate of the Modern Language Association, 2017

More Information

Listed as: 
Poet
Gives readings: 
Yes
Travels for readings: 
Yes
Identifies as: 
Indian American, Muslim, South Asian
Prefers to work with: 
Adults, Any, At Risk Youth, Teachers
Fluent in: 
English, Hindi, Urdu
Born in: 
Lahore, Pakistan
Raised in: 
Lahore, Pakistan
work_excerpt: 
Tea Party A lot of tea was tossed on fish that day!/ They would have come in pumps and heels and hats,/ If only they were asked or had a say!/ But no one had a thought for them that day—/ The rebels railed against the Townshend Acts/ And just flung crates of tea in Boston Bay./ Fish grumbled, indeed, this wasn’t quite the way,/ Darting away from staining tea-leaf tracts./ If only they were asked or had a say!/ Above, roused comrades rushed without delay/ To teach a lesson to Westminster rats,/ Tossed yet more tea on fish in Boston Bay./ Caught by surprise, fish stared in dismay/ As rioters strained to profit plutocrats—/ If only they were asked or had a say!/ So without a tea- or milk-pot, or a tray,/ Without scones, crumpets, biscuits, butter pats,/ A lot of tea was dumped on fish that day!/ If only they were asked or had a say./
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last updated: Mar 14, 2017