Modern Urdu verse has successfully crafted its own distinct identity as a genre without breaking away from past traditions.
Renowned poet, Aftab Iqbal Shamim, said this on Monday at a literary gathering, organised in his honour by the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL).
“Back in 1950s, when I started writing poetry, Urdu poems were clearly influenced by the style and diction of ghazals,” Shamim said, adding that “The scenario has completely changed now.”
He said that new poets have experimented with new subject matter, stylistically and thematically. The modern poets have aptly included international movements in their poetry, he said.
“Poets have figured out that writing a poem is not the same as the ‘versification of ideas’,” he said. “A poem covers everything from the aspects of a human’s psyche to the mysteries of the cosmos.”
Shamim, an educationist and author of three books on poetry, said that a poet always strives to achieve perfection through words.
He also read two poems on the occasion amidst tremendous applause from the audience.
Shamim said that he originally drew inspiration from the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Noon Meem Rashid.
He said that obscurity was a trait of poetry that allows poems to take on multiple meanings and protects the reader from the judgmental statements of the poet.
Earlier, speakers including fiction writer Mustansir Hussain Tarrar paid their tributes to Shamim and his works. “Shamim is one of my favourite poets and he is one of the few poets who have inspired my writing,” Tarrar said.
Poet Dr Safdar Kamran said Shamim often paints dark and self-centered images through verses.
Dr Waheed Ahmed read an essay he had written discussing narcissism as a core topic in Shamim’s poems.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2013.