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Stinging Flowers


Book Review

Title: She and Other Poems

Author: Huma Masood

Format: PDF E-book

Carl Sandburg defined poetry as an echo asking a shadow to dance. Good poetry is a dance of words. No, not really words but images and metaphors. Take this haiku, for example:

            A flower stung me

            One bright, beautiful morning

            Shocked, I hear a buzz.

This is from Huma Masood’s collection under review. Most of her poems have that stunning effect on the reader. The effect comes largely from the images and metaphors that the poet employs dexterously. Huma has a scintillating imagination. While too many poets of our day rely on what Coleridge calls ‘fancy’, Huma is blessed with an imagination whose creative intensity can aesthetically shape and unify experiences. This is the secret of the power of her poetry.

Let me give one more example. Here is another haiku titled ‘Unspoken Words’:

       Louder than the noise

       Graceful, intense, deafening

       Few unspoken words.

Which sound are you left with after reading those lines? That is the final impact of Huma’s poetry on you.

The collection is divided into four parts with the titles: She, Dilemma, Inspired, and Random Thoughts. Every poem, irrespective of the section to which they belong, is short and passes through your consciousness like a whizzing bullet. Once it has passed, you think it’s a breeze that went by. Or is it? Good literature disturbs and soothes you at the same time.

All the poems in the first part are about women, as the title indicates. The prologue to this part says that women are caged though there is all the illusion of freedom.  You can fly as long as your wings don’t “clash with the cage walls”.  There are the mountains out there luring you to their wide worlds. Women want to break their restraints and explore the high domains. But the souvenirs of patriarchy lying all over trip her.

The second part presents certain inevitable dilemmas of human life. Words can be knives sometimes and leave scars that are as ugly as blackbirds. But there is always optimism bubbling in those lines in spite of the underlying gloom and pain. The “hidden tears and unsaid fears” will give way to the dawn’s “rays of gold” when the truths will unfold.

We get some inspirational lines in the third part. Go where you can grow, the first poem in this section tells us. Go barefoot, walk the spiked road, jump over defining lines. There is a desire, however feeble and suppressed, to break certain restrictions, lying hidden beneath the breezy smoothness of the lines in most poems. “Nothing is beyond your reach,” another poem in this section tells you. If only you “dare to dare”.

Reading Huma Masood is at once a stunning and soothing experience. She can stun you with such opening lines as “What is to be said / Of cold cruel deaths”. And she can soothe you with the songs of spring while whispering to you the warning that autumn will have to listen.

PS. This book is free to download now here.

This book is part of The Blogchatter’s E-book carnival and my contribution to it is  LIFE: 24 Essays.



  1. I'm drawn to good writing like a bee is drawn to nectar. So, despite having read Huma's book, I couldn't help but read your review.
    WOW! Did we read the same book?
    It's partly Huma's poetic prowess and partly your reviewing skills that have left me stunned (with admiration) after reading this post.
    Thank you for this.

    1. Delighted to have you here, Arti. I'm flattered by your metaphor.

  2. Hari OM
    I am as interested in Arti's response as to your own - and this proves the quality of poetry that each can draw from it precisely what they need or wish! Good poetry, that is. Any worth writing will strike each reader exactly where they need it. YAM xx

    1. Yes, poetry has that power... Open to so many interpretations.

  3. could see how deep you have been into the book by your review... amazing

    1. I'm used to books and literature. That makes reading easy and fun too.

  4. To be able to stun and soothe at the same time with mere words - this is one of the best feedbacks I got for my poetry. An excellent way to start the week.

    Thank you so much for a wonderful review. And the blog title fits perfectly too.

    1. Best wishes to you. May we get more poetry from you.

    2. Thank you and look forward to your life essays


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