Light and Heavy Things

Zeeshan Sahil, trans. from the Urdu by Faisal Siddiqui, Christopher Kennedy and Mi Ditmar. BOA Editions Ltd.(Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (56p) ISBN 978-1-938160-12-7
Plainspoken and image-driven, Sahil’s poems rarely break a page but offer complex portraits of contemporary Pakistani life in which nature, city, war, and human emotion all entwine with the quotidian. This slim volume of selected poems is the first of Sahil’s work available in English, and the poems span over 15 years of his writing. At times the poems seem driven by personal longing: “I stared out the window./ Dreams built their nests in my eyes,/ and the cage was empty.” At others, their force can be of the collective and political kind: “Always in the city/ on our way from here to there/ we are afraid… newspapers/ like firecrackers/ all day/ explode in our hands.” Throughout, Sahil’s lithe, compassionate voice infuses his subject matter with both human gravity and delicate luminosity: “In Karachi,/ birds that fly from trees/ live with us/ through the sounds of bullets and bombs;/ perch on walls; always/ they gather somewhere/ to pray.” This book marks a moving and timely glimpse into contemporary Pakistani literature. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/18/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 104 pages - 978-1-938160-13-4
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