‘Half Moon’ brings Taufiq Rafat’s poetry back to life
By Madiha Kark
LAHORE: ‘Half Moon’, a collection of poems by Pakistani poet Taufiq Rafat, was launched on Sunday. The posthumous launch of the work of one of Pakistan’s few English-language poets was a cozy but eventful affair — held at the Alhamra Arts Council Â– with leading academic and literary figures making appearances and sharing their thoughts.
The collection itself, written nearly 25 years ago, and published some 11 years after his death, contains sensitive and subtle verse, coated in hints of madness.
Rafat is considered one of the pioneers of English poetry in Pakistan and is accredited with inventing the Pakistani idiom. Born in Sialkot in 1927 and educated in Aligarh and Lahore, his first collection of poems ‘Arrival of the Monsoon’ (1947-1978) was published in 1985.
Rafat’s verbiage is compelling, creating vivid pictures in the listener’s mind, allowing the imagination to create pictures for his words.
Athar Tahir, a close friend of the poet, said, “poets are carpenters and a poet must know the craft.” Rafat, he said, had mastered the art, and wrote poetry filled with meaningful metaphor.
Drawing greatly on personal experience, his inspirations include affliction and joy. The illness and eventual death of his father and the monotony of a government job are just a couple of the underlying concerns in his poetry. His work teems with meaning, sadness and truth.
Imran Aslam, a known journalist and writer, said Rafat’s “absence has been a constant presence in my life.”
Fashion magazine editor, Mahwish Amin, recalled being judged by the author in a college contest, and remembered that he often said there was no room for cowardice in poetry.
The Taufiq Rafat Foundation, established by Rafat’s sons, Jalees and Seerat, aims to make the author’s work more accessible and help budding writers and students pursuing English Literature.
The evening was closed by Zia Moheyuddin, who recited from the works of the poet, bringing to life the emotion put to paper over two decade ago.
Source: Daily Times