6.5" x 6.5". 58 pages.
English and Urdu.
Hifsa Ashraf is at the leading edge of modern-day poets who are taking haiku into uncharted territory. It is a territory that at times feels both dangerous and frightening, which challenges our sense of morality and compassion, which opens our hearts to new understandings of the human experience. Even as she does so, Hifsa Ashraf holds true to the sensibilities and form which define haiku, walking that haiku poet’s tightrope between never falling into sentimentality on one side, nor slipping into the coldness of pure observation on the other. It is a fine balance that only the most skilled of poets master, and Hifsa Ashraf is such a poet.
To be human means to experience exquisite joy, and perhaps love, but with certainty, deep suffering and sorrow. Hifsa Ashraf writes: “blue dahlia—/the depth /of her scars”. In an act of courage, the poet shows us her scars. And in doing so, she honours and gives voice to the myriad of other victims of domestic violence and servitude. Her Fading Henna Tattoo is both devastating in its truth, and beautifully rendered as an expression of that truth.
-Marianne Paul, author of Body Weight. A Collection of Haiku and Art
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