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The Financial Express

Book Review

A poet reflects on emptiness and hope

Shahabuddin Ahmad | Published: June 18, 2020 21:52:03 | Updated: June 25, 2020 22:18:47


Leaves of the Sleepless by Farnaz Mahbub UPL, Dhaka Leaves of the Sleepless by Farnaz Mahbub UPL, Dhaka

Spring is the season when the whole nature blossoms with all its expressions of beauty: new leaves, flowers, fruits, vegetables. All this prompts a riot of colour. The first book of poems titled 'Leaves of the Sleepless' by Farnaz Mahbub, a promising poet of Bangladesh, has been published on such a spring day. The book was showcased at the UPL stall at this year's Ekushey Book Fair. Some of the collection's poems, written in English, were published in leading English dailies earlier.

The book contains a total of 88 poems. Although the poems are mostly 'abstract' in nature, they are communicable to serious poetry lovers. The poems are apparently lucid as they deal with the feelings of both emptiness and fullness. The poet focuses on emptiness knowing full well that it does not immediately strike a chord with average readers. Then she lets her mind travel across a completely different realm --- the many facets of fulfilness dominated by hopes and aspirations. It's because humans like to look forward and remain optimistic. The poems appear, at times, to be trotting like a horse as if to the beats of music. This very style distinguishes the poems of Farnaz.

The poet has taken 17 years to compose the poems contained in the book. This reviewer once asked her why poems cannot be written quickly. Her reply was, 'I cannot write poems in a jiffy'. She corrected me with the information that the Colombian Nobel-winning novelist Gabriel García Márquez took 45 years to write his 348-page novel 'Love in the Time of Cholera'.

The poems in the collection, a reader can feel, are written when sleeplessness overtakes a person, as Shakespeare wrote in one of his sonnets:

Keeping my drooping eyelids open wide/Looking on darkness which the blind do see/Makes black night beauteous and her old face new

Farnaz started schooling at an English-medium school in Dhaka called Sunbeams. Then she moved to American International School, Dhaka. After high school, she went to Rhode Island, USA, for her undergraduate degree and completed major in Psychology, and minor in American Studies. She returned to Dhaka in 2010, and worked for a year in travel related fields and wrote articles on travels, archaeology, tea gardens and food tasting. Farnaz developed interest in Hospitality, and while in Canada in 2010, she studied Hospitality Management.  She has acquired culinary skills, along with other related hospitality expertise. In the past, she has worked in the F&B sector at a private golf club in Canada, and has held the position of Executive Trainer at Le Meridian Hotel, Dhaka, where she trained staff regarding service, and F&B. Currently, Farnaz is passionately concentrated on her writing, something she has always enjoyed. The poet excels at photography.

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