‘At times tender, at times searing…’ a comment by Lydia Kwa

‘At times tender, at times searing, Holier Than Life is a collection of poems that refuses to withhold truth-telling, exposing the brutalities of those in oppressive regimes, and pleading for the plight of women and children. A poetic chant laced with bitterness and celebration, these poems confront us with the urgency of suffering, and the need to respond with compassion.’

Lydia Kwa
Author of ‘Sinuous’, ‘This Place Called Absence’, and more.
http://lydiakwa.com/
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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.

shahidmirza1

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.
facebook.com/shahidmirza?fref=ts
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.

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‘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
newwestwriters.wordpress.com
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‘A single flame of being’ – Comment by Joanne Arnott

Fauzia Rafique’s ebook of poetry ‘Holier Than Life’ is now online. Published by Purple Poppy Press from Vancouver, British Columbia, the eBook is distributed by Gumroad, Amazon and Smashwords.

‘In Holier Than Life, Fauzia Rafique presents in English poems written in three languages, to blend the voices of self in a full and unified presentation. From soft intimacies to polemic, from private indignities to those that are the shared burden of at least half the planet, the poet gives voice to self in a wide sweep of style and metaphor, revelation and critique, visiting a kaleidoscope of concerns and blending literary values that, ultimately, express a single flame of being. Intelligence, embodiment, engagement: these are the aspects of woman that surge to the fore and fall back again, as poem by poem, the author moves us through the vastness of the world.’

Joanne Arnott
Author of ‘Wiles of Girlhood’ and ‘Mother Time’
joannearnott.blogspot.ca

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