Book Review: Fractious Mind

Fractious Mind Genre:  Poetry
Author: Perveiz Ali
Year of Publication: 2018
Publisher: Global Fraternity of Poets
ISBN:  978-93-83755-51-6
Pp:       90
Price:   INR 240/$16

ReviewerWani Nazir

Creativity, or to say precisely, poetry (a sublime and lofty form of creativity) is brought forth out of an encounter - an encounter of the poet's within with the without and the poet's within with his within. When the poet, an artist ideal, is at odds with the meaninglessness and eerie silence filling all the vacancies of both the worlds - inner as well as outer, he labours with both the ghosts until he forces the meaningless to mean, and makes silence answer, or to put it this way, he makes Non-being be. James Lord, being a friend of Alberto Giacometti, has brought forth a valuable monograph about the encounter that occurs in creativity in his rather small book, "A Giacometti Portrait". In the book he reveals the great degree of anxiety and agony is generated in the artist (Giacomette) by such creative encounter. It is thus anxiety and agony, born out of the creative encounter, that a work of art is born. 

Perveiz Ali's debut collection of poems, "Fractious Mind" can be produced as a fine example of creative work born out of such creative encounter. The title of the book, too, hints at the poet's mind and being bearing the brunt of anxiety and agony. Perveiz's mind is fractious only because the environs, the outside world, especially his valley seems afflicted with meaninglessness, bleakness, and absurdity - the maladies of any conflict ridden land and her people. All this has pushed the pen of Perveiz to dabble in scribbling this absurdity and meaninglessness.

Like Hamlet, Perveiz Ali too senses 'Time is out of joint. O cursed spite, / that ever I was  born to set it right! But unlike the Prince, the poet uses his pen as a mighty weapon to 'wage a war against the sea of troubles'. He dares to throw the gauntlets by vociferating so vehemently against the breach of the promise made to the people of his homeland.
What has the UN established in our name?
To measure the pain and anguish we bear,
At the hands, of our supposed benefactors
The saviours who have us fractured.
(Kashmir delirium)

He writes in a fit of the paroxysms of pain and agony, he bleeds and so does his pen. The words seem like drops of blood and gal of the liver as they express both pain and anger.
Our Garden of Love is now a land of gravestones
Who shall mourn with me over the Paradise lost?
(Paradise Lost)

Perveiz's heart doesn't ache for his valley only but for the humanity at large cutting across the borders of sex, religion and geographical boundaries. He wails on the inequality and discrimination sweeping across the whole nation where the unfurling of the flag of peace seems a distant dream. 
The idols of wrongs are worshipped in our land.
Inequality sweeps across the nation
The flag of peace is yet to be unfurled

Perveiz Ali, to use the expression of Wordsworth, brilliantly does 'fill the paper with the breathing of his heart". He too lights the lamp with the fuel of his blood, and the poignant line of Mohi ud Din Gowhar. His lines: 
'Prezleu ne Gowhar bael yaroo/ su chu zalan tchangen jigruk rath'
 (Gowhar (pearl) does not sparkle with brilliance, for no reason/He burns the lamps with the blood of his heart)
 fits so expedient in case of the poetry of Perveiz.

There are umpteen poems in this collection which transcend the confines of spatio-temporal ambits, and there are poems which are replete with universal appeal and topicality. In one of his poems, Perveiz's scalding ink melts away the borders and barriers of nations and nationalities. It is in such like poems; he elevates himself to the state where he proves a champion of the whole humanity.
Democracy, Liberty and Civilization...all labels.
Asian blood is cheap and African the cheapest,
American heroes amid western Super heroes,
Why this chaos? And for what do we stand?
Day out and day in ruled by the biggest gun?
(What of earth?)

It is not like that the poet remains wedded to angst and pain for good, he divorces such ugly entities in intervals, and many a time emerges as an optimist and visions silver lining around the dark dense clouds. He, like Shelley's sanguinely hopeful line, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind" divines a golden dawn that shall break from the mountain peaks of the valley. 
Let the old me be remodeled, made new,
Re-energized as my hopes I renew.
I stumbled, I struggled and still I stand,
My faith giving me room to expand.
                                                                                  (Inner secrets)

Perveiz Ali at times delves deep into his sea of being. His inner recesses metamorphose into an oyster that after travails and tribulations brings forth pearls from the sediments in the form of verses - sparkling with sheer brilliance. He hobnobs with the themes like longing, love, separation from his beloved and other such like slew of feelings.

For example, the poem "You" celebrates love and longing beautifully.
I dream of you with passion
To turn that dream into reality,
The joys of realized fantasy:
To be held and loved by you!

Perveiz's quill has a grasp over weaving poems in various forms and structures. There are ghazals (despite being so onerous to treat in English), haikus, rhyming couplets, acrostics and other forms, all woven brilliantly.

I am quoting two couplets of one of Perveiz's ghazal which are enough to attest his prowess to treat the form, and maintain radeef and qafiya so brilliantly. 
Equal rights are no more your domain to claim on land
When rights are tethered ruthless; O'man, should I cry!
Open the strangulated lanes of darkness with the light of ink
How ill fated this race is! Blood flows stopless, O' man, should I cry!
(Ghazal 2)

All said and done, reading the collection of the poems is a wonderful experience the reader is through. I wish more creative outpourings from the beautiful pen of Perveiz Ali.

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