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     Volume 5 Issue 107 | August 11, 2006 |

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Beyond the Words

Elita Karim

The famous poet Emily Dickinson defined poetry as "not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these.”

Writing poetry is probably second nature to Sabahat Jahan. Rough Edges, Jahan's first publication, speaks of her love and also the need to express her thoughts and emotions through the play of words thatshe seems to be so good at doing.

A Writers. Ink publication run by Dr. Niaz Zaman, the book is being distributed by the University Press Limited (UPL). The book was launched at Etcetera, Dhanmondi last month, which was attended by writers, book lovers, professors, Jahan's family members and colleagues.

Jahan speaks about the book, saying that it revolves around "love, the imperfections of love and human relationships. I don't believe that there is a perfect person or a perfect relationship," she adds. "Just that someone could be perfect for you, despite all your faults and all his shortcomings. That's the beauty of love." Rough Edges, "alluding to the imperfect and the flawed, not the smooth and the perfect", is dedicated to her husband Zayn who supported and urged her to write. She says that though her husband was probably not a major inspiration, some of the poems in the book do have their special moments etched on them. Now being a mother to eight-month-old Zarar, her world has opened up to newer dimensions and adventure that she had never imagined before.

This is the second book that Dr. Zaman has published. According to Dr. Zaman, who is also a renowned professor of English at Dhaka University, the book speaks of the simple concept of love. "It's a theme for most young people," she says.

Jahan was quite young when she began to play with words and her interest in literature grew eventually. She has clearly sketched the images of relationships, loss, a sense of belongingness, the joy of victory and the agony of defeat with her simple words that seem to speak of all the worldly elements.

One would have to read beyond the lines and constructions to realise that some of the verses may be interpreted as having a double meaning. For instance, Honey, which uses the imagery of dripping honey, sweetness and the emotions of a young restless girl, can be interpreted as one of those vital moments in a relationship, when reality overlaps the concept of life being a bed of roses harboured by many a youngster. "Her poetry is very honest", says Jhilam Iqbal, a poetry lover and also a friend of Jahan's.

Jahan says that her creative talents are probably inherited since her family is deeply involved in the arts. "They have always been supportive of my creative endeavours, been a part of my experiences and also been aware of my relationships," she says. "These have all been responsible for the feelings behind the poems in the book." She has been influenced by many poets namely Pablo Neruda, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mirza Ghalib. One of her poems in the book has also been dedicated to Neruda.

Graduating with a double major in English and Psychology from Angelo University and getting a Master's degree from Baylor University in Texas , Jahan is an English Lecturer at North South University in Dhaka. Currently, she is also working on her second book.

"Amateur writers should not be intimidated by the wealth of talent out there," says Jahan. "They should give it a shot like I did and see what happens."

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