As a birthday present my brother promised that he would get me Jafar Alam’s book, Almond Eyes Hears the Dove`s Cries. He ordered it online so I waited patiently for it, knowing that it might take a little while. I was really excited to read it. One day, not very long after my brother had ordered the book there was a package that arrived in the mail. I was so excited: all smiles, I might even have jumped up and down holding the package in my hands.
Dismissing the To and From sticker, I carelessly opened the package.
What beheld me: Disappointment.
It wasn’t Jafar Alam’s book. It was a game my brother had ordered. K
After that a few other packages came, I lost interest. As well, the postal strike happened which delayed the book even more so.
One day in mid July, I came home from work and there was a package on the table, I didn’t heed it any attention until my mom said that it was for me.
Yes, you guessed it. The book was finally here. I guess, all good things come to those who wait.
Almond Eyes Hears the Dove’s cries, is an exceptional book of 170 poems beautifully weaved together and written in different styles. Each poem is infused with so much emotion and passion that the message within it resonates with the reader. To find out the meaning of the title you will have to read the book! Jafar Alam has been writing for five years and he says that, “these poems were written over a period of 4 years. And compiling it into book form took about 6 months.” I asked Jafar Alam what specifically inspired him to put this book together and he said, “My need to want to give myself. My need to connect to people. To try and get closer to humanity. The humanity that connects us all together. I believe books are a passionate affair . And a collection of them is an affair of passion.” He manages to do just that.
Jafar Alam has a very beautiful style of writing. He says grand things in simple words. I believe his poems are quite intimate in the sense that the reader can connect with them in one way or another because they present experiences which are familiar to the human condition. I asked him to describe his own writing style and he told me this, “My friend once told me that when people are in need of soul food, they don't need something complicated. Just something simple, that goes straight and direct to the heart. I would say my writing style is refreshing and original with a range that's horizon wide.” Indeed, his poems reach the heart easily. His use of imagery of elements related to nature makes one smile and it shows you that life is simple but we complicate it. In his poem titled, ‘In the Arms of Midnight’ he says the following,
Start your journey
If they ask for you
They can find you
Waiting in the dimple of a moon
In the arms of midnight
Dancing to the whistle of the wind
I believe that everything Jafar Alam writes has a way of connecting with you. I remember reading the dedications page of his book and getting teary eyed and wondering how I would make it through the entire book. Rest assured, I did make it! Every poem brings an array of emotions and many make you teary eyed because of the beauty of his and the topics he chooses to write about. But that is what good poetry is, it’s supposed to at times in some sense overwhelm you with emotions. This book speaks so much about Jaraf Alam. His memories. His experiences. I asked him if this was the case and he said, “Most definitely, I did give people a glimpse into my world. I think the book was well received because of the fact that it was raw and honest. I kind of look at it as a diary written in the form of poetry. I don't mind sharing myself with the world. I think the connection between the poet and the audience is a communion. And I think the audience or the reader is very much an important part of the poem. I used to feel that my purpose in this world was to experience all this pain, so that I could share it with others through my poetry and hopefully give them something where they wouldn't have to suffer in the way that I did.” Jafar Alam writes if, I may say so quite colloquially in a way that is, ‘so real’.
Jafar Alam tells me, “I write because of my emotional need to. Writing is a very painful process sometimes. The root of why I started writing is very organic. There was never an intention. I never set out to be good at it. I kind of did it cause I thought of it as survival at the time. Poetry, unlike many other art forms, its primary base is the fact that you're vulnerable. I mean, you have to be in a vulnerable place in order to be effective. It embraces all the ideas about vulnerability.” One of my favourite poems in his book is titled, ‘Looking for God everywhere’ and I love this stanza from it,
We are all born to die
In between the two
We are all looking for God
Jafar Alam’s poems are about many different topics and some touch upon global issues. His poem titled, ‘Handala’ speaks about the condition of Palestine and this is one of his favourite poems. He says that it stands out because, “I feel it speaks to so many who are voiceless. And because I was able to use a piece of my late friend Ahmed Hussain's poem as the opening verse.”
Through his poetry Jafar Alam presents a solution to fixing many of the world’s problems and that is to help, understand other’s experiences, standing up for justice and most importantly loving. He tells me that through his writing he wishes to convey the following message, “I want people to be unafraid to examine their convictions. To always recreate themselves. To get out of the exile. To love yourself enough to lift each other up. To trust the divinity of life.” I asked Jafar Alam if he plans to write another book and he said, “God willing, yes. I'm almost finished writing my second anthology of poetry, and I intend on writing several more books of, not only poetry, but novels and short stories as well.”
For more information on Jafar Alam’s work please visit his website at www.jafaralam.com, his Facebook page at Jafar Alam Poetry or on twitter at: jafar_alam. If you wish to purchase his book locally please contact him. All proceeds of his book sold locally go to an orphanage in Bangladesh.
I leave you with Jafar Alam’s words from his poem titled, ‘Don`t be afraid’
Don’t be afraid,
Dive deep into the Ocean
Dive deep, and forever be drenched
With the sweetness of love
I encourage everyone to read Jafar Alam’s compelling and amazing book of poetry.