by Harris Khalique
Maki Kureishi, who passed away some years ago, has been one of my favourite poets. She is certainly one of the best English-language poets from Pakistan who lived in the country and, along with Taufiq Rafat and Daud Kamal, blazed the trail for many others. There is a definite quality to each poem she composes. Every once in a while I pick up Wordfall, an anthology of three poets published in 1975, including herself, Taufiq Rafat and Kaleem Omar, or the selection from her complete works published in 1997, both by the Oxford University Press. Besides bringing immense pleasure and a sense of literary accomplishment, her work also goads your social and political consciousness in a distinctive way. I have always felt that as events shape nations, words shape individuals. Kureishi’s language, imagery and introspective awareness of the world she belonged to contributed to shaping the inner feelings and outward approach of many of her readers, I being one of them. I insisted on using her work against the will of my supervisor when writing on a social science subject. This happened at the expense of losing marks for quoting poetry. But poetry is magic, like love is.
Lamartine said that, “Sad is his lot who once at least in his life has not been a poet.” But sadness has many dimensions, and both being a poet or a reader of poetry makes you sad as well. Maki Kureishi’s poem “Kittens” had a strange effect on me today. Continue reading