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Book Review:: Exploring The Frozen Lake by MazharNisar

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Reviewed by Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui

The medium of writing poetry in English is chosen by those Pakistani writers who feel themselves more akin to English language that any other language used in the country. Therefore, they find it natural   to express their views, feelings and experiences in English language. The themes of such poems are more subjective and personal. However they use present realities in the country slightly as setting for their expression. These poets are mostly not exposed to the bitter realities and hardships of a common man in the country so their themes are mostly introvert and subjective with a tinge of individuality and mysticism.

MazharNisar is such a poet who is in the contact with the Jargon of English language used in Pakistani media. However he has carefully avoided that journalistic style but his polished idiom shows his skills in using language. He is a news anchor, program host, analyst and voice caster whose services in the field of broadcasting span over two decades. In recognition of his valuable services, he was awarded with esteemed Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan. He is also a recipient of PTV National Award. He’s presently serving the federal Government as director in the ministry of national health services and is responsible for international cooperation. He has served the country at various significant posts.

 The Mahogany Junction was his first collection of English poems and the Frozen Lake is his latest collection of poems published in 2023. In this collection of poems he has successfully managed to create images taken from nature and cycle of seasons and then making the images as a setting of his poems to expresses his feelings.

While commenting on the themes included in The Frozen Lake he writes,

“This collection contains 40 poems based on a variety of themes including life, mysticism, love and a yearning for harmony amongst the humans and their co-existence with the non-humans.”

These poems are marked with distinct use of imagery. Another quality of his poem is inward lyricism. He does not choose any complex theme nor does he prolong it unnecessarily. Every poem is illustrated impressively with corresponding graphic designing which helps the reader to grasp the meaning of the poem along with adding to the overall aesthetic beauty of the book.

In his first collection of poems he was more subjective and subdued but now he has also struck a harmony with the outer realities of the life around him. He has now discovered that the creative process is a gift from heaven and a good poem can happen anywhere.

In one of his poems titled as Provenance of a Poem he writes,

A great poem can happen

In the midst of an ordinary day

On the way to work

In a crowded shopping mall

While crossing the road

A poem writes itself

We are but scribes

Doing the divine’s bidding

 

While expressing the theme of aleination, senselessness and our collective inertia, in the title poem, The Forzen Lake he writes:

We the emotionally numb

Are life’s frozen lake

Where no soul drowns

yet none stands still

This theme of alienation is further highlighted in his poem, The Strangers:

I like strangers

When I help them

They cannot hurt me in return.

He is particularly alive to the beauty of nature around him and most of the poems celebrate the beauty of rain, seasons, flowers and other natural manifestations:

A half soaked autumn leaf

A sun-kissed blade of grass

A few unfinished poems

A dozen frozen moments.

 

There are many other beautiful lines that captivate the reader and create beautiful images.

The overall ambience of this collection of poems is beautifully summed up by major Pakistani English poet, Alamgir Hashmi,

“In The Forzen Lake, the lyric mode allows the inner event to take place at the page to involve both the reader and the listener. The poems are a sketch of longing to be colored.”

Another noted poet Ejaz Rahim has endorsed the beauty of some lines of Mazhar’s poems in his impressive foreword to the book.

To conclude, The Frozen Lake is a good addition in the rare genre of Pakistani English poetry and I hope that with the passage of time Mazhar would develop himself into a very fine English poet and would also focus on themes of international significance.

 

Title of the book: The Forzen Lake

Poet: MazharNisar

Total pages: 95

Year: 2023

Published by: Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore

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