Every book carries its own distinct tone!
Red Seeps has got the tonality of a morning breeze on a pristine beach!
You hear the fresh breath of the gentle wind – rising off the emerald sea and moving towards the shore like a minor Grecian deity – humming, caressing and playful, rollicking around the white beach, altering our P-o-V (point of view) of the dull surroundings. The entire natural experience can be pretty transformative in itself, very much like the new writings that renovate ways of seeing and recording existentialist angst and euphoria in urban centers and render the whole process of living in a novel manner.
Often, in the field of arts, youthful energies inaugurate fresh perspectives on traditional forms and reinterpret them for the contemporary audiences in their lingo.
And, through the act of writing, opens up fresh vistas!
In the 109-page Red Seeps, the Karachi-based science graduate-turned-research-scholar in English Sadia Riaz Sehole does that only by starting a dialogue with the world via short and lyrical poems.
The offerings seamlessly move from the intensely personal to almost elegiac to romantic to moody and occasionally Plathian in its sad commentary on the realities of a world restrictive for a talented and sensitive female author.
Sadia is able to distill a variety of experiences into a feminine, graceful language, syntax and idiom that is stunning in its overall impact and aesthetic effect.
Her style borders on simplicity – the hallmark of good poetry.
In stark terms, the poet declares:
Neither look too good
Nor talk too wise.
I am who I am
Though I strive to improve. (Me, p. 2)
This declaration is a counter to narcissism of the FB poetry. It is an affirmation of faith in the unceasing process of improvement achieved after shedding the ego. Sadia throughout comes across as an honest voice searching for truths and self-realization via poetry.
In another moving poem – a tribute to parents, she announces her core belief: At best, I can show my feelings/ Through my feeble words. (Poem to my parents, p6)
Red Seeps is full of vitality and vigour and innocence. It is a superb documentation of varied encounters with a world that has not yet become skeptical for its young inhabitant. The continual feeling evoked is that of wonder. Familiar emotions and relationships are creatively explored in many of the poems in a subtle way.
Take this as an illustrative example:
Bound by precious threads
Of blood and warm sentiments
Woven close to each other. (Family tapestry, p10)
This is a heart-felt little ode to familial bonds and captures the closeness in three lines of intense devotion and minimalism. Only a gifted woman can compose such a lovely tribute. Then this moving one:
Before the trust rusts
Before the heart bursts
Before I’m torn
Before I’m worn
I wish to die… (I wish to die…p.15)
The same morbid mood is echoed here:
Each day, treading
On burning broken glass
Drenched in sewat
Devoured by agony and pain
A soap opera set in hell
Arteries slit open for a world to see
Running a marathon without a marker for end
Immune no more to pain
Priceless tears drying…
Inconsolable and insane
I picked up the pen
And here red seeps… (Red seeps, p. 24)
The collection of poems is real remarkable for their innate beauty and heightened awareness about pain and creativity felt by the greats like Woolf and Plath. These competently crafted poems are linguist pearls that delight and uplift the reader – like the fresh breath of breeze on a pristine beach. You feel inner harmony and get the underlying message that for the synthesizing mind of a poet, every feeling, mood, emotion and object – including pain – remain an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
These are poems that are going to linger on, long after you have finished reading them. A brilliant writer Sadia Riaz Sehole arrives in the world of poetry and is here to stay on the basis of her sheer skills. She has an ear for the right word and is able to create powerful images that speak directly to a yearning heart.
Red Seeps is a very well-illustrated book with a perceptive foreword by the noted Indian poet Vinita Agrawal. Its production value is very high. It is more of a great objet d'art where poetry and images are mutually supportive, merge and become a startling fusion of different media; it is an inspiring dialectics of image-text-visual for a connoisseur. For that also, both the poet and publisher need to be complimented. They have together produced a very beautiful book, part poetry, part art.
Sadia Riaz Sehole. Red Seeps.
Authorspress, New Delhi. 2014.
ISBN 9788172739324. Price Rs. 295