Defiance of the Rose: Selected Poems by Perveen Shakir - Translated from Urdu by Naima Rashid

ISBN : 9780190700430

Sharkir; Rashid
308 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Apr 2019
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Both for the reader who knows Perveen Shakir as well as the one who does not, the poems in this volume offer a glimpse into the full breadth of her work. Between the chilling piece that opens the collection, and the troubling finale, many poems here will surprise even those who are already familiar with her work in Urdu. There is the beguilingly titled 'Tomato Ketchup' which marches steadily on to its startling conclusion, and the endlessly nuanced 'Those with the Memory of Camels', which unveils a new shade upon every reading.

Also included in this collection are some insightful and astutely observed portraits of ordinary men and women in society as well as well-known figures. Rendered with the lightness of a water colour, their readability draws us in, and makes it all the more impactful when the final irony of their situation strikes at closure.

All said and done, her signature poems will, perhaps, always remain the ones in which she explores the full spectrum of feminine experience without apology, from its pleasures to its ordeals, and the range of roles it encompasses. Beyond any simplistic black and white notions of feminism and its implied denials, her embrace of womanhood is courageous and nuanced, comfortable with all its inherent contradictions, and revelling in every shade of its experience.

The hallmark of her work is her poetic style - simple, and crisp. Her verse maintains an airiness and ease of touch at all times. Even when the realms she explores are inky and opaque, her words never become obtuse ('Macbeth', 'An Unearthly Night'). Similarly, in her shorter, tauter poems, where she plays with the gymnastics of a single sentence, the acrobatics of form do not eclipse the message, and these short pieces strike with the spontaneity of an overheard snippet from a conversation ('Tantrum', 'Reorienting Focus').


List of Transliteration and Urdu Poems
Translator's Introduction
Note on this Edition
1. When the Wolves Come
2. Circle of Life
3. Nickname
4. Talking to Myself
5. Basheer's Wife
6. A Poem Composed Upon the Rubble
7. We Are All Dr Faustus
8. A Special Steel Mills Worker
9. The Epiphany of Basu
10. Karachi
11. Just a Girl
12. Neelum-River of a Million Hues!
13. To Prince Saif-ul-Mulook
14. A Voice from Down Under
15. Stenographer
16. Working Woman
17. The Dilemma of a Female Social Worker
18. Beyond the Night
19. It Took so Many Years
20. A Poem for Yasser Arafat
21. Prostration
22. Omen
23. Your Attitude
24. Accountability
25. Verse
26. Timely Repentance
27. An Unearthly Night
28. A Suggestion
29. The Missing Link
30. Chain Reaction
31. Creator of the Universe
32. A Daughter of Sindh Pleads to the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
33. Westminster Abbey
34. Lonely Planet
35. Will
36. Macbeth
37. Nun
38. Topsy Turvy (Ghazal)
39. Snake-stung
40. O My Bleeding Shackled City!
41. Tomato Ketchup
42. Lessons from Rivers
43. Once Again, the Same Decree
44. Tombstone
45. The Suggestion of a Senior Officer
46. On the Clifton Bridge
47. What Journey Remains
48. A Poem for My Son
49. Those with the Memory of Camels
50. Verdict
51. Misfit
52. What Will Become of the Flowers?
53. Who Does Not Long for Travel?
54. Our Dilemma is This
55. A Voice Keeps Calling Out
56. For a Poetess
57. Mischief
58. A Kohistani Dilemma
59. Islamabad, by Early Morn
60. To My Life Partner
61. Deprivation
62. Echo
63. Ransom
64. When the Wind Blows
65. Companion
66. Sorcery
67. Hearing
68. Season
69. The Black Day
70. A Sad Poem
71. Peacock
72. Sentinels
73. Do Bear in Mind
74. Prayer
75. Helplessness
76. Dream Come True
77. When it Rains
78. A New Night
79. To God
80. Tantrum
81. Trial
82. Devotee
83. Reproach
84. Childishness
85. Taj Mahal
86. Gratitude
87. Confusion
88. Stranger
89. A Prayer for a Season
90. Moon
91. Facing Up
92. Word of Caution
93. Friend
94. The Sail and the Dress
95. Deja Vu
96. To a Friend
97. Access Denied
98. Olympics
99. To Ali, the Healer of Maladies
100. Demonetization
Note on Transliteration
Transliteration and Urdu Poems

About the author: 

Perveen Shakir (1952-1994), was a Pakistani poet who is highly revered in literary and popular circles in the Urdu-speaking world and its diaspora. To this day, Maah-e-Tamaam (Full Moon), a compilation of her works published during her lifetime, is a staple on Urdu bookshelves in shops and homes. One volume of her verse, Qaf-e-Aaina (Mirror's Rim) was published posthumously. For her poetic works, she received the most coveted literary honours in South Asia, including the Faiz Ahmed Faiz International Award for Poetry in India, and the President's Pride of Performance Award for Literature in Pakistan, among many others.; Translator: Naima Rashid is an author, poet, and literary translator. Her forthcoming works include her own poetry and fiction, as well as a series of literary translations from Urdu, Punjabi, and French into English (after 2020). She has a background in linguistics, education, and writing, and has taught French language at the French Consulate of Jeddah and the Alliance Francaise de Lahore, and and literature at the Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. Her writings on visual arts and other subjects have appeared in Newsline magazine and other publications. This is her first book.

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