Praise and Poems
In this stunningly beautiful collection of poems, Wajid Hussain shares his journey of love and respect for his devoted Deddy-ji. Written in the form of letters, here are poems to love. Catherine Graham
Dear Deddy-ji is many things: an elegy, a eulogy, a testament, a conversation, a journey through memory, a lament, an investigation into identity and its transformations, a sequence of vignettes, love letters to the past, a meditation upon the meaning of life in the inevitable confrontation with death. And yet it is in the accumulation of ordinary, everyday detail that Wajid Hussain expresses the grief of loss and paints a portrait of his father. Written in a voice that is grounded, understated, authentic and humble he captures the ubiquitous distinctiveness of a life lived. Bob Beagrie
In these tender, heartfelt letters to the poet’s father life and death become not opposite stations at either end of the line, but merely destinations the soul encounters on its journey. Childhood memories of a much-loved, hardworking parent, doing double-shifts on British Rail, are intervowen with holidays in Pakistan; testimonies to the father’s renown as a man of the mountains; a scholar of Saif-ul-Mulook, that classic of Urdu literature; and a generous benefactor to his immediate and extended family. Much is accomplished with little. A whole life is in these pages, a story of Empire and Partition, emigration and how the children of exile contend with who they are and where they belong, of tradition and what each generation brings to tradition. ‘My identity is an exploration,’ says Hussain, and his father’s legacy – amongst so much else – is the making of a poet. John O’Donoghue
Do you remember your suitcase from the ’60s? Small, toughened leather, with a blue and white cross-patterned lining. The suitcase has these brass flip latches that stopped working, but you never threw it away. The cover still works, and so it became a storage thing . . .
from ‘Pardesi Suitcase, All These Years’