Discussion on poetry collection.
LAHORE -- A discussion was held on Dr Rizwan Akhtar's English poetry collection Lahore I Am Coming at the FC College on Thursday.
Dr Amra Raza and Dr Ayesha Barque, from the Department of English of Punjab University, Dr Waseem Anwar of the FC College and Dr Fawzia Afzal-Khan participated in the panel discussion.
Replying to questions of Dr Fawzia about themes of gender and personal relations in his poems, Dr Akhtar referred to Ted Hughes who once said that it's very difficult for him to write poems about personal relations and that he could not write a poem on his mother.
'My PhD thesis was on representation of Indian women in Hindu mythology and how women like Saraswati and Sita were presented in the ancient texts as well as religious ones. I think these things have infiltrated in my consciousness,' he said and added that our own tradition and the status of mother in our culture specifically had also a part to play.
He agreed with the idea of representation the city of Lahore as a mother who was being maltreated. Talking about the idea of beloved, Dr Rizwan said he had perhaps got the ideal of multidimensional beloved from the Urdu ghazals.
Dr Waseem Anwar inquired about Rizwan Akhtar's muse with reference to a poem and the poet replied that the muse had played a part in giving him inspiration but this muse was more than a woman though not denying the likelihood of a woman. 'Without inspiration, you cannot write,' he said.
Dr Amra Raza shared her views on the poems. 'Out of 170 poems in the book, 17 carry the word 'Lahore' in their title. In these poems there is a strange ambivalence, violence and romance, rich architectural spaces, alleys, merchants, businessmen and beggars. This world that the poet inhabits seems to go fonder when he is absent from a space. When he is in the west or abroad, the intensity of imaginative experience in Lahore becomes sharp,' she points out. Dr Ayesha Barque talked about the rich intertexuality, history and ancient texts and language as a substitute for experience in Rizwan's poetry.