Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review: Cobwebs in Space

Author: Bushra Naqi

Format: Paperback

Language: English


 Rs. 200


ISBN Number: 978-81-8253-222-9

 About the book:

For a change, it is a welcoming surprise to read poems of someone living right across our borders. Honestly sensibilities of our Indian peninsula can never touch the lands of differences. And even if they do, they are like those ancient invading tribes- who would depart in a short while.
Bushra Naqi’s “cobwebs in space” speak at length about symbolic connotations in relation to generic thoughts of freedom. Even after I close the book, the words of the poem “Freedom” echo within me.
“I exist for I am free. I survive for I am free.”
The most poignant ending in the entire collection is :-
“The womb of mother nature liberated me at birth.”
When a woman writes she can seldom overcome the urge to pen down poems for her own creed. The following lines are from the poem “Woman”-
“her clipped wings
Trap energy
Artfully sneaking
Into wanton crevices...
Her diluted naiveté
Endures captivity”.
 Creativity has witnessed trends of all kinds. It has borne the traces of dotting poetry and has travelled down the centuries as “words from several mouths”- till prose became the form of expression. For a few years, it came to my knowledge that several experimental writers are trying to merge poetry and prose and thus giving birth to the third transitional group – “poetic prose”.
Naqi’s attempts of poetic prose earn instant applause my personal favourite would be “Oceans of Silence”-
“The words not yet uttered into speech/move between us, trembling like a leaf, /touching our shores like sound passing/through an empty cave.../Love needs no voice to express itself.”
Naqi touches all the realms – which we have to live along with. Some of them are like poisonous thorns and others are like soothing balms over our ganglia-like wounds. Her words grow into a strong provocative voice and even touch the higher chords of protest. Poems like “In The Name of Honour” and “Explosions” are most representative poems of the collection. They evoke the realisation of the pain and plight her country has to bear is the name of “civility”.
If we look at the following lines of the poem, “Explosions”, we can gauge the true intensity of the turmoil as captured by the poet:
“As the fire engulfs them from within and without/they know that whosoever lights a fire, /will see it burn, / like a poison in a body spreading /killing it slowly and unknowingly.”
The collection is rightfully called “cobwebs in space”, not only due to  the poem by the same name getting its place within the pages of the book, perhaps , also due to the same sense of chained up complications spread across the expenses of free space. Yet the attempt of breaking away is forever present. The lines of the poem “when darkness falls...” is more close proving the underlying theory of the above discussion.
“the test of a human spirit
In its endurance cohabits
Moored in a vessel of hope
To stir again its human consciousnesses...”
If you happen to pick this prestigious Patrus Bokhari Prize winner’s “Cobwebs in Space”- don’t forget to flip through the pages and read the poem “Lahore”, - a city got versed. To me, Naqi is less a poet more an accomplished bard.

About the author:

I hail from the city of Lahore, which has been described by many as the “city of poets, love, longing, sin and splendor.” Having been born four years after the birth of my country, I have witnessed this historic city undergo myriad changes as my country has juggled between pseudo-democracy and dictatorship. It is from this constant state of metamorphosis that I seek my inspiration. My critics describe me as an unconventional poet and a non-conformist who prefers to break down myths rather than adhere to traditions. Living in a traditionally conservative society, I have become a reactionary, challenging a stagnant and static way of life.

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