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 GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani

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Kristaq F. Shabani
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MesazhTitulli: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:55 pm



Kristaq F. Shabani is intellectually graceful, erudite, knowledgeable and dreamy.



Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani’s book Humiliated Virtue ---

By K. K. SRIVASTAVA
NEW DELHI, INDIA

“For every poet it is always the morning in the world, and History a forgotten insomniac night; History and elemental awe are always our early beginning, because the fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world, in spite of History.”

Derek Walcott

Any article, critical one at that (I leave the hazards of what is meant by the word “critical writings” to the imagination of distinguished audience present here) will not start on a judicious note unless the writer of that article is sure about the relationship that exists between the background and the figure that will be the subject matter of such an article. Let me place my cards on the table. In one of the articles I wrote on the Poetry of Wendy Webb recently, I tried to explain that relationship and I reproduce the excerpts:

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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:56 pm


“The world of poetry is not a facile and straight world. It is a world characterized by hostile presence of structures, firm and high, crumbling and dwindling, having acute frustrations and severe conflicts, with perceivable areas of darkness and hidden areas of illumination, varied and skewed, but enlightening always trying to bring to the fore buried potential of words. It is a world full of dichotomies: pleasures and perils, love and hatred, gains and losses all are intermingled but unaccountably. The onus of explaining that unaccountability rests with the writers, a term that mercifully includes poets too. The word “mercifully” used here is to remind ourselves that poetry as a genre is exhibiting a decreasing trend all over the world with no big publishers as takers for poetry books and no big readership. It is really a strange world-it’s strangeness makes the texture of life of poets and it’s strangeness forms the wrap and the woof of what we call poetry: good or bad. There is really no good poetry or no bad poetry-a poem is a poem as perceived by the readers. Perception again is motivated by personal experiences and motives. The fact that even after about fifty years of their having been penned, let me take an example of a Hindi poet from my own country i.e.
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:56 pm

Muktibodh, whose poems, longer ones in particular still continue to be subject matter of a great debate and discussion as regards their real motive and meaning, speaks a lot of an unending tendency of readers cutting across all cultures to keep absorbing newer and newer facets of long existing poems. That is one way history of literature ensures that obscurity melts away as time passes by. So aptly writes T. S. Eliot in his poem, A Note on War Poetry-
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:56 pm


“In the effort to keep day and night together;
It seems just possible that a poem might happen
To a very young man: but a poem is not poetry-
That is a life.

………………………………………..
……………………………………….
“But the abstract conception
Of Private experience at it’s greatest intensity
Becoming universal’ which we call “poetry’

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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:57 pm

Though a poem has a life but it does not die. It dies the moment people stop reading it or looking at it. No poem thus dies or ceases to exist as no one on this earth can ever guarantee that a poem, however obscure and nebulous that might be, will never be read.”

(The whole article can be reached at www.agonia.net under Essay titled The Poetry of Wendy Webb by K.K.Srivastava)
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:57 pm

The above citation is primarily meant to convey the general milieu about the prevailing poetic scene and the troubling contexts against which poets pen their verses. There is hardy any denying that many voices, in the humdrum world of contemporary poetry, nowadays don’t captivate us. They don’t as they have their dimensions unable to stir the conscience of readers, readers find it hard to mingle their dreams and realties as well with these voices, they find in difficult to perceive their identities as submerging into these voices. It is the “profound pleasure” that one seeks in poems, it is the “emotional tranquility” that one gropes in for in poems, it is the “bliss of solitude” that one aspires for in a poem.
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:57 pm

Recently I have had the occasion to sate my intellectual appetite in terms of pleasure, tranquility and bliss in the form of my reading Kristaq F Shabani’ intellectually inspiring collection of poems—“Humiliated Virtue” (translated by Vassiliki Kalahani, Kostas Gatzonis). It resonates with echoes of the Greek mythology. It is a collection that addresses bigger and more versatile issues that modern philosophy brings to poets and writers, reinforced by constant cultural reorientation which in turn mixes together anxieties of modern human beings with the growing need to have a spiritualistic way of life. In brief, this collection tackles broader structures of the literature which nowadays is referred to as “post-post modernism”.
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:58 pm

Kristaq F Shabani’ verse, like Ezra Pound’ Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (Contacts and Life) speculate about the hopelessness of a modern mind pitted against civilization’s oddities. Self clashes with self depicting the superficial problems of self-centered people and leave us amid abandonment and cataclysm. Kristaq writes in Introduction in Humiliated Virtue:

“When the tears start to fall, Virtues face humiliation.
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:58 pm

Man that is so sarcastic asks the ENTITY
What is left from MAN;
The Entity is silent with an unprecedented muteness.
Tears only show weaknesses or do they seek their secret synonymns…”

Let us compare these sentiments from Part V of Pound’s Huge Selwyn Mauberly:

“There died a myriad
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization…”
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:58 pm

This volume of Shabani is one of the more completely realized and artistically accomplished volumes I have seen in recent past. The underlying elements of Puritanism in the book are it’s hallmark and there is a smoother show of violence and tenderness in his lines. ”What is left of MAN” besieges the readers with regard to hopelessness that loafers around not in the darkness outside but within. Shabani’ s all efforts as I move through his book convinces me of his astute determination to coax the light out of darkness within and then submerge it with greater conscience.

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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:58 pm

“Moments of embracement
With faces turned down
Do they sit these moments
A dring melts…it loses the name
The name that is condemned in the very deep darkness.”
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:59 pm

Orphan in “Humiliated Virtue”
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:59 pm

There are half - hidden images in above lines-the images that evoke a sense of formlessness but keep stirring. “A very deep darkness” is a silhouette against the stirrings of hidden light. I have reasons to find traces of influence of writings of Nietzsche in Shabani’s poetry.

“The Prophet was killed again.
The Ape is escalating, climbing upwards
The Prophet came to light once again,
During the day I read calmly and clearly.”

Everyone Becomes Whatever……

“The Gods are wounded badly
Did you see them..”

TRAP

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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:59 pm

Remember the description by Nietzsche of the market crowded with human beings, gossiping and purchasing, walking aimlessly when suddenly a naked man came running shouting “God is dead. God is dead.” And then blamed the crowd for having killed God. And the crowd, in turn, baptized that man as “mad.” For Shabani, as it was for Nietzsche, poetry is an experience that goes beyond words despite the uneasiness that accompanies being an intellectual in rebellion as Shabani is. Shabani questions through his poems rationality of thoughts which are subject matter of his imaginative game and emotional ambivalence. He questions the order, autocratic orders to which are subordinate human beings. He comes so close to Auden who writes,
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:59 pm

“When he laughed, respected senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.”

W. H. Auden in Epitaph of a Tyrant Hand

And again with Pentti Saarikoski, the poet from Finland—

“Tyrants were
People
Who undressed
And got dressed
Worked into the small dark hours”

Invitation to the Dance
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:00 pm

“Kings ascend and descend
From their thrones.
The “Vicars” of Bregi
In the same roles
Only that they change their cloths like masks…”

The Vicars in “Humiliated Virtue”
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:00 pm

This is where images of past and present become one; the poet continually looking from the center of an old civilization into the prospects of contemporary life. The aura of sycophancy he abhors. Looking back at short, thought provoking poems of Humiliated Virtue one wonders if the poet has overcome ruptured images of the conflicts between good and bad or still he has to overcome these as often times we find him providing us a psychological armour to his readers to cope with their anxieties. He suggests

“the night is so endless…
A night full with fragrances
From all the colours…”

AROMAS


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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:00 pm

Kristaq is intellectually graceful, erudite, knowledgeable and dreamy. In his poems it is easy to notice thoughts disappearing into images, to appreciate his recourse to Greek mythology, to be stunned with originality and artistic exuberance of poems and above all to see “the pearls” of his literary achievements. He writes with as much passionate energy as is possible covering an impressive array of topics. His kaleidoscopic mind touches virtually everything from mundane to metaphysical, personal to political catching a variety of moods and perspectives. Most refreshing phenomenon about his poetry is that he is not a self obsessed poet and he enjoys illuminating the world both internal and external in all their radiance. Written in free verse his poems have rhythm and are lyrical, beautiful blend of time and space. He locates the self in the backwash of history and culture and portrays his feelings with the solitude of an observer. His is a voice –ample strong and eerie. Built up from details his poems are deep and intense posing eschatological and philosophical questions which I sincerely hope the honoured poets, writers and artists participating in this international symposium will address during 8th April to 11th April 2010.
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:01 pm

About the Reviewer:----

K. K. Srivastava, born in 1960 in Gorakhpur, U. P. did his M.A in Economics in 1980 from Gorakhpur University. He has two volumes of books of poems to his credit. Ineluctable Stillness (2005) and An Armless Hand Writes. His books have been reviewed in newspapers like Hindustan Times, Pioneer, Tribune on Sunday etc. Bernard M. Jackson, a prominent poet from U. K and adviser to Norfolk poets, in his review of Ineluctable Stillness, described Srivastava’s poems as “work of a perfectionist in his natural element’ and compared Srivastava’s poems with those of T.S. Eliot. Dr. Stephen Gill, Canada based poet has called Srivastava a “thinker” and praised symbolic nature of his poems. Pioneer compared An Armless Hand Writes with Eliot’s The Waste Land. Dr Kurt F Savtek, a poet and several times Noble Prize nominee for literature from Austria while reviewing the book for Poetcrit (ISSN 0970 2830) Vol XXII January 2009 No 1 writes about An Armless Hand Writes, “The
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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:01 pm

book contains a whole host of life impressions offered with deep wisdom and truth and with the look on essential things-touching and thought provoking. All on a high linguistic level….” Teresinka Pereira, President of IWA based in Ohio, USA described Srivastava poetry “very excellent.” Jayanta Mahapatra, celebrated Indian poet described poems in An Armless Hand Writes as ‘deep and moving. ” Sunday Tribune, despite noticing both “erudition” and “credence” in Srivastava’s poems described An Armless Hand Writes as “cold philosophy”. In a review of his book Ineluctable Stillness in Hindustan Times, it was mentioned that, “He is not a genteel poet, he is a disturbing poet, intent on unraveling the human mind of it’s false preconceptions, of it’s delusive hypocrisy masked as genuine emotions.” Likewise, Bernard Jackson says of An Armless Hand Writes in ezine, eTIPS issued from London, “ Srivastava like a virtual Sophoclesian Tiresius of the more modern, decadent world to which he clings (and yet does not entirely belong) comments incisively on the self-centered facades masking the shell of an empty and purposeful society.” Srivastava, was conferred the membership of IWA (International Writers and Artists Organization) Ohio, U.S.A (recognized by UNESCO) in March 2009 for what IWA cited as, “his distinguished literary, intellectual, artistic and humanistic contributions”.

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MesazhTitulli: Re: GJIROKASTRA LETTERS Critical Article on Kristaq F Shabani   Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:01 pm

Srivastava’s literary articles on Firaq Gorakhpuri, famous Urdu poet have appeared in Glimpses, an anthology brought out by Dr Stephen Gill from Canada and Pakistan Christian post. His poems are included in Norfolk Poets And Writer’s Winter In The Wild North, an anthology of poems edited by London based poet Wendy Webb (2009). His two books were selected for discussion at Albania from 8th April 2010 to 11th April 2010 under focus Indian Literature by World Poets Society and IWA “PEGASI” Albania.
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