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July 16, 2020

Literary critique having freshness and openness

Islamabad

July 16, 2020

This book titled Karam-e-Khama is a collection of critical essays written by Dr. Farhat Abbas on some of the women poets, wherein he seeks to characterize all the poets’ efforts in affirmative term, consistently crediting them with instilling a high emotional tone into verses and terming their poetry of the highest seriousness.

Farhat Abbas’s writing is clear and lively and mercifully free of the fashionable jargon of academic criticism.

Among the poets discussed are: Fatima Hasan, Surraya Shahab, Imran Mushtaq, Shahida Latif, Shazia Akbar, Shazia Tariq, Saima Jabeen Mehak, Sana Ahmad, Riffat Naheed, Naghmana Kanwal Sheikh, Yusra Wasal, and Humaira Dua. While the works of each of these poets get critical treatment with excerpts from their oeuvre, the preface by the author offers an overall view about what literary criticism means.

The verses of the women poets record the realities of the times as they are. Subjects like love, tiny wishes, colorful dreams, harmless passions, climate diversity, social landscape, inequalities, patriotism, loneliness; never-­ending monotony, dull gloomy days full of drudgery, the very body and the joys of foreign lands are recorded.

The rhythm in these poems is contemporary; the language, simple; the effect, immediately palpable. The fact is that the verses quoted by Farhat Abbas from the poets make reading the text quite pleasing.

Poets have used the cadences of the word to evoke, provoke and question. Wildly differing themes have been touched upon by the poets. They voice their concerns, thoughts and emotions. Powerful and charged with emotion, poets’ voices rise, fall and break at all the right moments.

Instead of leisurely reflecting upon words as they appear on a page, the reader is swept along with the tide of feelings and opinions expressed by Farhat Abbas.

The strength of the poetry selected by the essayist appears to lie in the force of language it commands — whether gentle, angry, resentful or upbeat, the majority of these poems are characterized by their forcefulness.

Culturally deep-rooted and intensely passionate, but simple, these verses unpretentiously and directly speak to the readers. In other words, formal and linguistic experimentations and clumsily conceived expressions that often distance readers from contemporary poetry are not found here. And all the poets in this collection bear the hallmark of a spontaneous poet. That poetry according to the author is a spur of the moment outcome.

Karam-e-Khama is not merely an anthology but a learned, critical survey of women poets’ works and beliefs with a personal touch of the essayist. It gives real clues to their poetry. It is a literary critique having freshness and openness. Dr. Farhat Abbas has developed an honored reputation for representing and popularizing women poets. He appears to have developed a poetic sisterhood through this book.