Sun and Moon and Other Poems



Indus Books, 1992)

ISBN: 969 8163 00 X



"It seems that Hashmi, in this volume, is producing some 'watershed' poetry where emotional/personal and intellectual/referential impulses are vying for privilege. The poems in this volume that particularly stand out for me are those where he explores geographies and histories beyond the personal, ('In Cordoba', 'Winter Flight' and 'Pakistan Movement') where he has instilled a sensitive resonance between image and uncluttered observation. My response to these poems was to go to maps and encyclopedias and imagine the trajectories of migrating birds and people. It is in these pieces where the personal pain and intellectual busyness are subsumed, and where each loses some of its excesses and edges, Hashmi dispels any uncertainties with a poetry of meditative power."  Terry Yates, Span

"SUN AND MOON is a thoughtful book, a wake about personal loss and the state of human endeavour in our time. In the title poem, feeling maps and defines place and the landscape as a "continent of pain", where "sadness [is] a formation of land / across all waters", and the breakdown of a verdant, comely, and connected world is movingly traced. Linked with it are poems like "I, Orpheus" and "To B", where the poet and the persona mourn their "flower of the ages" with eloquent tenderness, in a language of delicate, translucent images of light, water, and natural life. Such writing is conspicuous for the absence of any maudlin self-indulgence. The writer "hold[s] the language to a feeling" with fine poise and restraint... An example of his method of working layered reference and workaday detail into a modern and personal design is the "Amaryllis" poem. Here a botanical drawing is transformed by a subtle conjunction of classical, literary, artistic, geographic, and human references into a new composition. This vivid if elusive motif looks back upon the artist and to the world, where to "imagine" is to question... The poetry in SUN AND MOON clearly forms a part of mainstream writing, but in assigning the "sport" to others and in refusing specifically to name the flower--which is also "the flower of the ages"--there is indicated a definite change of direction in poetry in English. His new collection affirms Hashmi's position as one of the foremost voices in contemporary poetry."  World Literature Today