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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Throb of Life at Dawn

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Mahfuz Ul Hasib Chowdhury substantiates a cluster of poems warmly embracing theessence of life



In the current era of disillusionment, prejudices, skepticism and unrest, conveying the message of hope is a vital thing for uplifting people's enthusiasm to embrace life with utmost dearness and this epistle is scintillated by the verses illustrated in Beche Thaka Bhor. It is an anthology of poems by Kutub Hilali. All the poems in this book bear Kutub Hilali's poetic approach to life, reality, love and memories.

Some postmodern traits are remarkably found in several poems in this book which have thought-provoking metaphors and evocative imagery. Two definitions of poetry are known to most of the people associated with literature. William Wordsworth, a prominent English romantic poet once said that poetry is "spontaneous outflow of powerful feelings." On the other hand, Samuel Taylor Coleridge said about poetry "Best words in best order".

Readers are most likely to come across the reflections of both these maxims in Kutub Hilali's book Beche Thaka Bhor. Since it's a Bengali anthology it's better to translate the book's title into English for convenience of non-Bengali speaking readers. "A Morning with Life" would not be out of place as an English substitute for the book's name.

The book's title jingles with a tune of optimism which implies the idea of tracing the throb of life in the advent of dawn. Thus Kutub Hilali has made poetic endeavors in his book for putting hope over dismay, life over death and light over darkness.

The first poem of the book "Eka" means "lonely". It portrays the solitary hours that people sometimes have to pass which have been movingly depicted in this poem. There is an allusion to Noah's Ark in this poem which connects the poem's theme with a mythology which dates back by thousands of years. In this way this poem touches the edges of eternity and becomes timeless.

 The ecstasy of the poet including some words like soliloquies is described in the poem "Poran". "Poran" means life. This poem shows the joyful sarcasm, oxymoronic it sounds though, that floods the poet's mind on holidays. Human beings' perennial contradictions with themselves are addressed in another poem titled "Attoghati" which means "suicidal".

With his love for poetry Kutub Hilali sought to become poetry's prisoner in another poem. Being imprisoned within the words and rhymes of poetry is one of the most blissful destinations all poets want to reach while Kutub Hilali is no exception.

Beche Thaka Bhor contains a few sonnets too which implies Kutub Hilali's acquaintance with different styles and modalities of poetry. Kutub Hilali seems to be looking for the meaning of life in most of his poems which actually has been the quest of all poets since time immemorial.

The power of poetry to live through ages and centuries is another significant angle Kutub Hilali's poems highlight. Kutub Hilali looks forward to immortality through his poems. Poets die but their creations remain imperishable in the minds of readers-that is the message Kutub Hilali wants to extend to us through this theme.

In his poem "Obinashi" or "interminable" Kutub Hilali exalted the power of youth to demolish all hackneyed ideas and outmoded perceptions for bringing about a new dawn of freedom and vivacity. This sounds something like the focal points of PB Shelley's well-known poem "Ode to the West Wind" in which PB Shelley called upon the springtime wind to blow away all old conventions to inundate earth with the aura of novelty and verdure.

Kutub Hilali looked back on his childhood in a poem titled "Shaola". Shaola is a Bengali word which stands for moss. Kutub Hilali visualizes the thatched roof, mossy walls and age-old parts of his home where he perhaps grew up and says that a harmony has developed between his boyhood and the moss on the wall of his home with the passage of time.

Kutub Hilali's experiments with the structure of poetry are quite noteworthy in Beche Thaka Bhor. Some of his poems look like sheer prose which hints at a deconstructive approach to poetry. This also reminds us of the Beat Generation poets of America who believed in "breaking patterns to stimulate life".

The sights and sounds of urban life are represented through some of the poems by Kutub Hilali. The pleasures, agonies, smiles and tears of people living inside the cages of steel and bricks in big cities are echoed through the words of several poems which get on equal terms with the visions and grievances about urban life we all hold in our hearts.

Poets are gifted with the prowess of expressing their feelings in artistic ways. They utilize striking figures of speech, analogies and innuendos to make their poems touch people's minds. Kutub Hilali has been able to carry it out aptly through his book Beche Thaka Bhor.


The reviewer is a literary analyst for The Asian Age

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