Friday October 15, 2021

Insight into cataclysmic world of art, poetry

September 12, 2021

A melange of poetic reveries embracing the ancient and the contemporaneous; the eccentric and the familiar, Dr. Sarah Syed Kazmi’s anthology of poems titled ‘Inscapes’ traverses multifarious spatial-temporal epochs with facility.

The dedication of the book is also a poem employing ‘alchemy’ as a metaphor of creative pursuits and a source of inspiration for inculcating humanitarian values. The book has been published by Welcome Book Port, Karachi. Dr. Kazmi is an academic, writer and a poet. She heads the English programme at DHA Suffa University, Karachi. The anthology opens with a distinct amalgam of a ‘eulogy’ and an ‘elegy’. The eulogy is written in the honour of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) while the elegy titled ‘Ali Asghar’ strongly denounces tyranny by alluding to the savage torments afflicted upon a 6 month old baby, Ali Asghar A.S in Karbala.

The collection of poems offers an insight into the cataclysmic world of art and poetry, subverting conventional metaphors to challenge preconceived notions and stereotypes prevalent in the contemporary world. At the peroration of a couple of poems, the poet details the epiphanic moments which led to the writing of those poems in parenthesis. Some titles are downright bold such as ‘Rebellion’

Kazmi is unrelenting in her art and rendition of voice against oppression. The thread binds disparate themes such as women juggling through existential quandary and exercising the right to be. ‘To Be’ is the title of a poem which is also a thematic concern of many of the metrical compositions. Her feminist poetry is vocal; lends voice to the subtle nuances of the women vying to exercise freedom of expression.

The poems which chronicle geo-political and socio-economic upheavals are lengthier and the stylistic devices are embedded to generate pungent criticism levelled against despotism and injustice of all manners. Despite such ‘Inflation’, ‘Bipolar World’, ‘On request of Anonymity’ and ‘For a boss who perpetually fears creativity’ are among the poems which stand out in amalgamating the predicaments of the postcolonial societies forever grappling with socio-economic disparities and ethno-sectarian strife meted out against the marginalized communities. The treatment of such pithy subjects is never without her deft handling of metaphors packed with meaning. ‘Ode to Gaza’ is one of the poems dedicated to the Palestinian crisis. Another poem stands out in this motley of collection, ‘Polio Workers: Gardeners of Civilization’ in which she pays tribute to their sacrifices rendered in the line of duty.

Two poems figure with a pronounced spiritual streak towards the summation of the anthology, synchronising with the first two with an analogous appeal. Some poems are self-reflexive, employing art as a theme and metaphor. ‘Drama’:

Kazmi chooses to end her book with a sombre piece of poetry; ‘16th December. The poem is evocative of the carnage meted out against children of Army Public School. The poem alternates between the schemata of a mother, illustrating her sense of foreboding and that of the mastermind of the suicide attack.