WRITER|POET|TRANSLATOR

Defiance of the Rose, Selected Poems by Perveen Shakir, Translated from the Urdu by Naima Rashid, Oxford University Press 2019

Picture Credit: Oxford University Press, Cover design by Samya Arif

Defiance of the Rose

The book is a selection of hundred poems by Perveen Shakir, translated from Urdu into English. Perveen Shakir (1952-1994) was a Pakistani poet, civil servant, and educator. Her work was marked by a bold and fearless experimentation both in style and subject matter. It describes the full range of the feminine experience, covering a robust arc from the perspective of a naïve girl to that of a mature woman. Her uniquely accessible style earned her a rare popularity in the Urdu-speaking world.

Defiance of the Rose, Selected Poems by Perveen Shakir, Translated from the Urdu by Naima Rashid, Oxford University Press 2019

Picture Credit: Oxford University Press, Cover design by Samya Arif

Defiance of the Rose

The book is a selection of hundred poems by Perveen Shakir, translated from Urdu into English. Perveen Shakir (1952-1994) was a Pakistani poet, civil servant, and educator. Her work was marked by a bold and fearless experimentation both in style and subject matter. It describes the full range of the feminine experience, covering a robust arc from the perspective of a naïve girl to that of a mature woman. Her uniquely accessible style earned her a rare popularity in the Urdu-speaking world.

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COLLABORATION

Translated from the French by Lauren Elkin, Natasha Lehrer, Sophie Lewis, Jennifer Higgins, Ruth Diver, Naima Rashid, Clem Clement and Jessie Spivey.

As she tries to collect them for an essay she is planning to write, other women’s words begin interfering in Clara Schulmann’s life — heard on the radio, in podcasts, songs, and films; words of novelists, feminist intellectuals, friends or strangers overheard in the street. Like weeds, like bad seeds, these wayward words invade her psyche, reshaping the essay that she once had in mind into a picaresque adventure. Sinuous and timely, Chicanes reveals Clara Schulmann as an author whose own voice is going to hold weight in years to come.

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ANTHOLOGY

A short story, A Mere Two Yards, first published in the UK-based Lunate magazine, was selected for Best Small Fictions 2022, edited by Nathan Leslie.

Excerpt:
Like a prologue, sadness always preceded her. It was present when she lived in Pakistan, and I knew her as a voice at the other end of the line, a voice that made my mother’s face droopy and sad. It was present in the weeks before she moved in with us when Ammi Abbu gave us a talk about how to treat her. It was present when she moved in with us, in the clean downy linen of the sheets on her bed, in the silence we all kept on the ground floor where she lived.

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Selected Writings

Back of girl’s head showing long braid folded inward at the base

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Short Story

Iffat Khala, The Scores,
Winter 2020

Most grown-ups behave as if they’ve never been kids. Or forgot what it was like, and didn’t want anyone else to remember either. I didn’t like that. Which is why I was glad there was still Iffat Khala.

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Light entering a room through narrow slit of slightly opened door

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Essay

Translation as homecoming, Lucy Writers Platform,
December 2020

What is our own language then? Can a language belong to us even if we have never lived where it is spoken? Can our own language only be received or born into, or can it be chosen by volition? Can passion carve a trail where a bloodline is missing?

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Poetry

Poems For My Son, Lucy Writers’ Platform, April 2022
Forgive me that it left you broken too;
there isn’t room enough in the universe
for a mother to break and unbreak.

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About

Naima Rashid is an author, poet and literary translator. Her work was longlisted for National Poetry Competition 2019 and Best Small Fictions 2022. Her published and forthcoming books include Sum of Worlds (Yoda Press, 2023-2024), Naulakhi Kothi (Penguin Random House India 2023), Chicanes (Les Fugitives, 2023) and Defiance of the Rose (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Her writings have been widely published in journals of repute, including Asymptote, The Scores, Wild Court, Poetry Birmingham, RIC Journal and Litro among others. She is a collaborator with the UK-based translation collective, Shadow Heroes, which teaches young people to embrace all aspects of their linguistic and cultural heritage.

Somehow, despite all this, she has managed to raise a young man who is allergic to poetry.

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