The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL), Imkan and the Ideas for Life Trust organised an event titled ‘Turning Pain into Metaphor,’ a reflection on Sadaf Raza’s new collection of poems ‘Write me in Red’.
According to a press release, Iftikhar Arif was the chief guest on the occasion, while Tahira Abdullah, Samar Minallah, Ejaz Rahim, Mufti Jamiluddin and Jehan Ara Mueen were the guest speakers.
Sadaf Raza has to her credit two collections of poems ‘Like a Sleepwalker’ and ‘Write me in Red’. Her latest collection ‘Write me in Red’ is published by the Ideas for Life Trust and the proceeds of the book are going to be utilised on campaigns against domestic violence.
Talking on the occasion, Anjum Khalique said that Imkan is one of the very few organisations promoting literature and cultural writings of seasoned writers. The evening was arranged with the support of the Pakistan Academy of Letters, to recreate the literary atmosphere that is charged with self-reflection. The audience and the panellist celebrated the freedom of expression, poetry and the magic of words. ‘Write me in Red’ expresses the courage, the stance and the belief in the self against the blood, victimisation, hardships and cruelty faced by women.
The formal programme started with Yumna, the host of the evening, reciting some lines from the book “I was destined to be written in red. It is the colour of my rage. It is the colour of my rebellion. It is the colour of my innocence. Red becomes me. It is their denial and my confession. It can’t be seen; it can only be felt.”
Jehan Ara Mueen, while talking about Sadaf’s poems, said that anyone can relate to her words, she speaks as a mother, as a daughter, as a wife and as a woman. She talked about her long association with the writer and how she has seen her in the highs and lows of her life and how she has emerged as a complete person sure of herself. She said that Sadaf writes about the woman who still enjoys her emotions and cherishes the changing weather with the onslaught of memories and experiences, among her chains and the stifling traditions and culture of our society. It’s something that touches you at a different levels.
Mufti Jamiluddin said it a great echo of what women feel! Great voice of rebellion. A great effort in copying a technique elaborated by T S Eliot. Stream of consciousness. She also displays sardonic humour constructed with the poetic reality.
Samar Minallah read her poem ‘Smithereens on Rape’ and said that Sadaf has captured the pain and the trauma of the rape victim and her family in local context.
Tahira Abdullah said that Sadaf carries the rage of this unjust society but that had not turned her bitter and into a cynic.
Iftikhar Arif said that great poetry is written all over the world by female poets. In this time and age, Sadaf needs to relate to all these women and not limit herself to Silvia only. He talked about the writers and the poets reflecting the pangs of society, one cannot be happy or enjoy a love serenade when one’s house is on fire. She has fulfilled the aesthetic parameters of the literature. The literature should not only entertain but should shock the readers, it must incite emotions of anger, joy, sadness and contempt among others.