• Friday, March 06, 2015

Book Review


Maliha Mohsin

It doesn't look like a book, really. At first glance, it's a box full of paper strips carrying tidbits of messages -- half formed stories left for someone to finish. Discreetly placed on the back of the box and the book is a note on Haiku (a form of Japanese poetry) that helps one understand what this spread of words and phrases is all about.
Spring Moon is a compilation of 43 Haiku poems by Quamrul Hassan -- the first of its kind to be authored by a Bangladeshi. An author and journalist by profession and presently the Assistant Editor of Monsoon Letters, Hassan took up Haiku and turned out to be pretty good at it, finding himself among the top 10 finalists at the Matsuo Basho Literary Award 2013.
Spring Moon comes in a rectangular red box, just the size of the book itself. The book is printed in landscape as opposed to portrait format. It isn't bound on the side; its glossy sheets are held together by a single pin bolted and screwed on the bottom left corner. So instead of turning the pages, one has to spiral them about the pin.
Each sheet contains a Haiku, never longer than 3 sentences, and a mellow illustration by Rudaba Mohsin accompanies each. Included also is a foreword by the eminent Bangladeshi bilingual poet, Kaiser Haq, on Hassan and Spring Moon. The collection includes a range of Haikus -- some poignant, some cautionary, some nostalgic, some just plain lovely. Some are glimpses of fleeting moments in life, and some are just packed in single sentences. Some are full of wry humour and wit. All of them put together create a fun little multi-dimensional ride.
Spring Moon is all about minimalism -- in its packaging, design, font, illustrations and of course, tiny form of poetry. It might not be a literary masterpiece, but it is literally a small bundle of anecdotes that we can all share. Most importantly, it's something new that's come out of Bangladesh's growing English -language literary scene. Available for only BDT 120 at Janantik, Aziz Super Market, this could make a wonderful gift to read, enjoy and play with (spiralling pages; what more do you need?).

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2014

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