I received a travel grant from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies that brought me to Karachi and Lahore to give talks in February. This is a (late!) blog post about my rejuvenating visit.
On February 8–10, I attended the amazing Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) and participated in a panel launching my new book, I Too Have Some Dreams: N. M. Rashed and Modernism in Urdu Poetry. The panel was well attended, and the moderators, Asif Farrukhi and Sarah Humayun, both from Habib University, asked excellent questions, as did the audience.
I did not know before arriving that there was an Art Section to the KLF! I was very happy to meet a number of artists, most for the first time. My book has a beautiful work by Zahoor ul Akhlaq on the cover, as does the new book by art historian Simone Wille, Modern Art in Pakistan. In part because of our mutual love of Zahoor's work, I was invited to the session launching her book, sponsored by Art Now, to discuss modernism in literature and art.
I was also invited to give a talk at the Indus Valley School of Art and Design (IVS) on Digital Humanities, and I enjoyed that very much. I am very interested in the design aspects of DH, and so it is wonderful for me to address some comments about DH to the IVS audience. I also enjoyed meeting members of the Vasl Artists’ Collective.
I also had a chance to attend an art event organized by the Tentative Collective that involved a video projection by Naiza Khan of images of Manora on the side of building in Golimar, in an alley near the brass artisans that the artist worked with. My partner Karin Zitzewitz had curated Naiza Khan’s exhibit Karachi Elegies at the Eli and Edith Broad Museum at my university, so I had met her before, both in East Lansing and Karachi. Here are some pictures of that and an audio recording as well:
I also gave a well attended lecture entitled “A ‘Punjabi’ Critique of Sufi Idiom: N. M. Rashed and Urdu Literary Tradition” for the Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi. The poster for that talk was quite beautiful, and I am including it below. My (too) complicated talk was covered in the an article in Dawn. The article is good but misrepresents my characterization of the poets Faiz and Rashed, which I have discussed in this article. My talk was followed by recitations (lovely, of course) by Dr. Nomanul Haq, who has been a friend and colleague of mine for 10(!)+ years. His recitations start at ~52:00 in the audio recording below.
I also gave a talk at Habib University. That is an entirely new and lively university with an innovative curriculum. There I gave a talk entitled ‘The Digital Divan: Computation Approaches to Urdu Poetry.’ There was a beautiful poster for that as well, and another nice article in The Express Tribune.
I later traveled to Lahore where I met with a number of people, including some literary critics and poets who had helped me with my book research. My friend the poet Ahmad Attarecited some of his poetry for me and also all four parts of N. M. Rashed’s Hasan Kuzagar. I hope to post those soon. Ahmad is on the left in the photo below next to M. Salimur Rahman, and with Abbas Tabish and myself in the next. I also made some new friends in Karachi and Lahore and had a very memorable time. I look forward to returning soon.
I have posted some of my photos from the trip in this photo album.