‘A route back to significance’ by Chloé Frommer

An initial comment (my less conscious or deep response) on
‘Holier than life’ by Fauzia Rafique

‘I truly liked the poetry collection. And though I love all poetry, I feel your voice has affected me before or previously – and maybe most strongly because you were a poet I knew, or had at least met.

‘If I was to get analytical though, I might say the strongest of the poems re-mediates us from some of the toxic, and inept media we’ve gotten covering all kinds of internal and externally-generated wars in Pakistan, within Islamic governance etc. These are the knotty rotty experiences we still have not figured how to absolve.

‘Some of your poetry is also so so familiar to me. I think I’ve read some of it before! So it’s nostalgia to come across this particular cadence of self in the world again. Some of it helped me sort an approach to another difficult time – but I barely remember that time, just that I had either reposted or liked that poem before.

‘As a whole, your poetry is a rally against the dullness of our information intoxications, almost a route back to significance. However, like the title suggests, holier than life, the route is more than one less than many – a candelabra of many veins and ways.

‘I have to end this top of my head review with just saying….I too am suffering now, from all of this.’

Chloé Frommer is a sociocultural anthropologist, an underpublished poet, and an emerging filmmaker. Works online can be found at:

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Shahid Mirza’s Kavita – Cover Art of ‘Holier Than Life’

shahidmirzaSometimes, an artist delivers a verse on canvas; sometimes, the verse spills over to become a song; sometimes, that song releases a perfect moment of forgetfulness. If i was a musician, i could tell you more about the song that is initiated by this painting. Now, i can only say that it is a song of abandonment and joy, of floating and riding, of heat and animals; and of flowing water and sweeping breeze.’ (uddariart.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/shahid-mirzas-kavita)

By Fauzia Rafique

I saw this item in 2006 in Shahid Mirza’s studio located at the time in the servant quarter of a Gulberg house where the main floor was being used by Lahore Chitrkar, an art organization founded and run by him and his partner Rabia Nadir while they lived upstairs with their family. This artwork was part of Shahid Mirza’s scattered portfolio found in his studio and in Chitrkar’s office and gallery areas. The moment i saw it, i was captured by the serenity and continuity of life it represented. A common scene of a rain-fed pond or a canal or river in the plains of the Punjab where in the heat of summer the cow/buffalo floats giving free rides to the young caretakers. An un-advertised, casual, everyday-life pleasure extracted from harsh realities without thought or planning– made possible only by the instinctive trust the child has in the force of life itself.


Shahid Mirza is an art teacher and an incredible painter who mixes life forms into oblong-people shapes to emerge colourful concepts on pages and canvases merging Punjabi folk lore with current themes and techniques. Visit his Facebook art gallery to view his paintings.
Some of his work is displayed here.
Shahid Mirza at Uddari Art

I am grateful to Shahid Mirza for his art, for his generosity in letting me use it on ‘Holier Than Life’, and for his friendship. This reminds me of many occasions where i enjoyed warm hospitality and deep caring from him and Rabia in Lahore in 2006-2007. And, this is the kind of contentment and creativity they both are:

rabianadir-shahidmirzaRabia Nadir and Shahid Mirza in a photo from Sarah Elahi

Here and now, Mariam Zohra Durrani created a befitting environment on the cover of ‘Holier Than Life’ (Purple Poppy Press, June 2013) to showcase Shahid Mirza’s artwork.

Holier-Than-Life-CoverGet it here

‘Powerful, insightful and revolutionary’ – Comment by Valerie B-Taylor

‘Fauzia Rafique’s poetry collection ‘Holier Than Life’ speaks to the world about the state of human conditions and current global upheaval. Her lyrical style weaves the reader’s imagination into a perceptive web of bittersweet memories of love, and of power-orchestrated political murders. Once entangled in the web of Rafique’s profound and well crafted poetics her writing provokes a burning passion to rise and speak up. Fauzia Rafique’s writing is powerful, insightful and revolutionary.
A must read!

Valerie B-Taylor
President New West Writers, FBCW NW Area Rep, Advisor Surrey Muse, Founder Renaissance Book Writers
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