Poet’s Remarks on Poetic Meter Cause Commotion, Program Gets Hijacked
By A.H. Cemendtaur
A poetry session honoring Boston-based Punjabi poet Irfan Malik suddenly got animated when near the end of the program Malik said that he put some of his poetry in the genre of ghazal even when that poetry did not observe the restriction of a meter; he said calling his poetry ghazal was a playful act because he believed the meter created unnecessary restrictions and killed creativity.
Several members of the audience objected to Malik’s apparent disdain for the poetic meter. As soon as Malik stopped reading his poems, the program was taken over by a group of Punjabi poets in the audience—the group strongly believed in keeping the meter in the poetry.
The pro-meter group was led by Sukhwinder Kamboj who after reading his own meter-regulated poetry started acting as the emcee of the program and invited Kamal Dev Pall, Kulwinder Plahey, Khawaja Ashraf, Gulshan Dayal, and Amna Buttar to read their selected poems.
The Saturday, October 31 program hosting Irfan Malik was arranged by Moazzam Sheikh and Ijaz Syed and was held at the Ingleside branch of the San Francisco Public Library.