A KALEIDOSCOPE OF STORIES
MUSLIM VOICES IN CONTEMPORARY POETRY
Author(s): Rabia Saida Spiker
Reviewed by: Carimo Mohomed
Publisher: Cambridge: Lote Tree Press, 2020, 534pp. ISBN: 9781916248809.
Poetry has been a revered art in every world culture, but this is particularly so throughout the Islamic world, so there is a need to nurture this poetic side and rediscover the poetic heritage because it is a huge part of who Muslims are as a community. The poetic heritage of Muslims is incredibly rich and diverse, encompassing poetry from many different cultures. There is nothing quite like poetry for expressing things that cannot be said in other ways and thus getting to know people and connecting with and understanding their inner world. Poetry is also a tool for exploring and processing one’s own experiences and emotions and making sense of them, celebrating and validating the ups and downs we go through. Poetry is an amazing tool for fostering understanding on a level it is difficult to achieve through other mediums. It takes the reader into the inner world of the poet and communicates on a symbolic and emotional level using words in ways that often evoke a strong response.
Islamic artistic heritage is vast and incredibly rich. It stretches from Morocco to Malaysia and beyond and should be acknowledged and celebrated for many reasons. The arts offer such an important third space where people can channel their creativity and express themselves, gaining self-knowledge to help other people navigate the challenges of modern life. Islamic heritage contains so many artistic and spiritual treasures to replenish Muslims and to offer to the world. The arts allow one to look at things from new perspectives, highlighting things one may not have noticed and re-examining old assumptions and ways of doing things, and for this reason are an essential part of a living, breathing tradition. Islamic poetry, both past and present, deserves to be recognised for the central role it has historically played and for its great potential for artistic and creative expression for everyone today.