‘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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‘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:
culturalsurvival.org
And
https://www.facebook.com/ExtendingSweetness?ref=hl

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‘The Jolly Trinity’ by Fauzia Rafique

UN declares November 10 the Malala Day
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First, they brought us
our enemies
from Tora Bora
Afghanistan, the allah-crazed
soldiers to bomb our schools
Now, they bring us
our heroes
hijacking
one
courageous face
of our resistance
Hail angelina!
Resurrect madonna!
Wash dirty dollar
into
charitable currency
Drone fire aggression
into
noble democracy
War-lording action
into
exodus of decency
Our young heroes
into
brokering commodity
US-NATO-UN
the jolly trinity

Nov. 2012

From ‘Holier Than Life’ (Purple Poppy Press, June 2013)

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Extracting Pleasure from Pain

In August 2012, a group of Shia Muslims was apprehended and slaughtered by a militant strain of Sunni Muslims, a blasphemy-accused disabled Christian male was lynched and killed by a mob, and, an 11-year old Rimsha Masih (now given refuge in Canada) was accused of blasphemy. Coming out of these three religion-based violent crimes, the poem ‘Holier Than Life’ was a painful experience to write. One of those moments hours days when verses flow like tears, and tears drop like molten wax.

In the ebook Holier Than Life, ‘Porn creation’ is another such poem, ‘The Clowns of Blasphemy’, and of course, ‘Mirwah’s Unnamed Girl’, a translation of one of five Punjabi poems on the 2008 alive burials of eight Balochi women.

The poem ‘Holier than Life’ was posted on facebook at night, and the next morning, i saw an Urdu translation of it on my timeline. Not just that it was a translation that would make the poem accessible where it most needed to, but also because it was clean, actually beautiful, depiction of the original. What a pleasant surprise, Shamoon Saleem.

As much as it’s possible to extract pleasure from pain, than this was one of those occasions in 2012. And this morning again i was happy to find a new post from Shamoon Saleem with his translation, and a link to the eBook Holier Than Life containing the original. Thank you, Shamoon. I hope that some more of my poems inspire you.

Earlier in 2011, Daljit Ami had script-converted my Punjabi poem ‘Aahr 2011’ from Shahmukhi to Gurmukhi within minutes of its posting on facebook.

I am grateful to everyone, people and pages, for creating with and sharing my poems in 2012, before and after.

Fauzia
‘Zindgi se Muqaddass-ter’ by Shamoon Saleem
‘Holier Than Life’

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By Fauzia Rafique

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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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Holier-Than-Life-Cover
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