Pakistani Poetry Anthology Meets Enthusiastic Reception

Urdu- and Pashto-language poets now available in English translation

Waqas Khwaja reads as Hasina Gul looks on

HOUSTON, May 3, 2011 — Poets Fahmida Riaz and Hasina Gul, joined by poet-translator Waqas Khwaja, introduced a major new anthology of contemporary Pakistani poetry at a reading hosted by Asia Society Texas Center.

Riaz, a distinguished Urdu poet and a noted feminist, and Gul, a younger poet who writes in Pashto, read their own work and the work of others included in Modern Poetry of Pakistan, just published by Dalkey Archive Press. The anthology collects the work of 44 poets writing in seven languages.

Khwaja, who served as the translation editor of the volume and moderated the program, read English translations of the poems, which Riaz and Gul read in the original languages.

The audience of some 60 responded warmly, punctuating the readings with applause and murmurs of delight. Offerings ranged form Riaz’s acidic "Chador and the Walled Homestead," dealing with the oppression of women, to Gul’s gentler love lyrics.

Asia Society New York presented a related program as part of its Creative Voices of Islam in Asia initiative.

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