Publication of Love Poems of Arif Khudairi

This book of poems was nominated for
Griffin Poetry Award, Canada, 2011.

An anthology that will definitely take its place among the works of the great love poets

by Professor S.R. Siddiqui, Karachi,Pakistan

Arif Khudairi is not only a poet, but a Philosopher-Poet. He is a learned and well-read scholar. He studied widely and at last he stands in the long line of the well-known poets of the east, starting from Hafiz,Omar khayyam, Rumi and ending at Iqbal.

The metaphysical philosophy of these great poets of the east is not a simple one. It is nevertheless one of the greatest philosophies of all mankind. The theme of that metaphysical theory, very simply, is that the whole Universe, with each and every thing therein, is a reflection of the Magnanimity of its Master. It is only a shadow of its Creator and a mirror in which the beauty of the Supreme Authority can be seen. Man’s role in the Universe is pivotal in so far as he finds himself endlessly inspired to praise the beauty and magnificence he sees in such abundance around him. He looks in wonder at the beauty of the stars in the night and the beauty of flowers in the garden and he is compelled to praise them. Nevertheless, when he praises the beauty around him, he is in fact praising its Creator.

Arif Khudairi is a skilful artist. He is rendering that metaphysical theory in his poems. He is transferring that eastern thought to the west. He has such a marvelous command over the subject that one cannot easily perceive the theme lying beneath his poetry unless one takes time to grasp its real meaning.

He expressed himself fully in his poem “You Live Within Me”. It is a superb poem and a masterpiece of its kind. It resounds like the words of the great eastern mystic poets such as Hafiz and Rumi. They always express the thought that the whole Universe and everything therein is like a shadow or a mirror of the Magnificence of the Creator and, as man has a unique existence within it, he always seeks His pleasure and loves Him to the core of his heart. Khudairi says: “ In spite/ Of the rivers/ Of the seas/ Of the oceans/ That separate the two of us/ You still live/ Within me.” He feels the love of his Creator in his heart, mind and soul. This divine love goes on and runs deep within him: “ You continue/ To run/ In my blood.”

Each and everything in this world has no real existence. It is a temporary and borrowed existence that will soon perish. The life of man in this world has no reality. It is deceptive and flows through time. Khudairi says: “ Life is/ A dream/ Only a day/ Or two/ We come here/ One day/ And one day/ We go/ We know not/ Why we come/ Nor why/ We leave.”

Love, however,which is the most precious and the most beautiful feeling in the world, does not fade away like other mortal things. It is as old as this world and it shall remain forever. The poet says: “ My love/ For you/ Is as old/ As the sun/ As the stars/ And the moon/ It has been/ Always there/ Like the heavens/ And the earth/ It has been/ Always flowing/ Like the river/ And the sea.”

This tender and aesthetic feeling in man remains hidden in one’s own self and suddenly appears without prior notice. Let us hear from the poet: “No one had/ Told me/ Anything/ About love/ At the time/ I was young/ Love to me/ Was a true/ Tender feeling/ As beautiful/ As a dream.”

Arif Khudairi’s Love Poems is indeed a marvelous collection. Its profound and lively poems arouse the aesthetic sense within its reader. The melody of the poetry is high and the construction is precise. It is an anthology that will definitely take its place among the works of the great love poets.

Nsemia INC. Publishers announces the publication of Love Poems of Arif Khudairi:

Love Poems of Arif Khudairi is a collection of 40 poems of love crafted with an adept and scholarly hand combining imaginative force with acute poetic sensibility. The poems of this anthology capture the love story in a new and fascinating poetic form. The poet, Arif Khudairi, excels at both nocturne and aubade, and his employment of metaphor and simile is direct, uncontrived and vivifying. He exhibits an astonishing mastery of pure light and shade, conveying the emotional anfechtungen of the 'voice' with remarkable ability. The collection is both compelling and absorbing. It engages the sensorial with superb exploitation of atmospheric effect and fallacy. This original poetic work, with its admirable, artistic qualities, will clearly touch the reader in a pleasurable manner.

What others say :

"Love Poems of Arif Khudairi is a victory for lyricism. The musicality is astounding, the cadence is almost like ballet, and the tension of its metaphors and imagery is classic. Even if you're not the poetic type, you will definitely enjoy reading this or listening to it being read to you." - Charles Phebih Agyekum, Author & Editor

"Through the pages of this magical, mystical wonderland, we are allowed to watch and experience feelings be they gentle, stunning, thought provoking, poignant...the merry and misery go rounds of love." - Sylvia Lukeman, President, Poets Who Care, Liverpool, England.

"Arif Khudairi's Love Poems is indeed a marvelous collection. Its profound and lively poems arouse the aesthetic sense within its reader. The melody of the poetry is high and the construction is precise. It is an anthology that will definitely take its place among the works of the great love poets." - Prof S.R. Siddiqui, IIU, Pakistan.

Arif Khudairi’s Works As viewed by International Scholars:

(1) In his foreword to the applicant book “The Arabs and The Art of Translation” Syrian Professor Zaidan A Jassem of the International Islamic University, Malaysia, says:“…This book is long overdue. It sets the Arabic translation in perspective, showing the contributions of Arabic Translators to the development of the field of Translation Science and Art, which is either ignored, unheard of or neglected by historians and scholars of translation, most of whom write about and introduce Western Theory and practice. The book is very interesting to read and is thought provoking. While I wish to commend the author on his superb book, I would like to kindly ask him to keep unearthing the Arabic translation treasures in future works, which I am sure, readers will find stimulating and enjoyable…”

(2) In his foreword to this book, Pengiran Dato Seri Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abd Rahman says that” in his book, Dr Arif Karkhi Abukhudairi gives us an interesting account of his efforts in translating several works into his Arabic language. Thus I welcome this valuable book and congratulate the author on his great accomplishment.”

(3) On the applicant researches accomplishments, Egyptian Professor ,critic and novelist A.S Mustafa of Cairo University states: “Dr Arif Karkhi Abukhudairi is an established scholar. His book, Drills in Arabic Writing, investigates a significant linguistic issue which makes this book an important work in reading and learning Arabic. His series, The Introduction to the Arabic Language, crystallizes his profound experience in teaching Arabic in Brunei Darussalam. His major academic works ‘Teaching Arabic to Non-Arabs: A Study on Curriculum and Methods’ and ‘Arabic: Selected Essays’ are significant contributions to the Arabic studies as they are scholarly and beautifully researched and written. His paper Riddles in Language Teaching, for instance, is an original work.

Dr Arif’s researches show him as a skillful scholar, a unique, talented researcher with a wide scope of knowledge, and a clear mastery of modern theories and methodologies. He is also very creative. His translations and his works on teaching Arabic to Malays are both creative and unique in the field of comparative studies.”

(4) In a review about the applicant book”Shukri Zain :Pioneer of Modern Islamic Poetry in Brunei Darussalam” Malysian Professor Dr Mahayudin Haji Yahya remarks:” Buku Shukri Zain merupakan karya berbentuk”Biografi Sastera” yang disusun dan diolah dengan begitu rupa oleh penulisnya sehingga menjadi sebuah buku sastera yang boleh dijadikkan sebuah bahan rujukan dalam bidang sastera Melayu-Islam Moden.Kerja mengumpul,menyusun,menulis dan menterjemah buku bukanlah suatu tugas mudah,ia memerlukan kemahiran bahasa yang tinggi,ilmu pengetahuan sastera yang mendalam,serta tenaga yang mencukupi.Jika sekiranya Shukri Zain dianggap sebagai”Pelopor Puisi Islam Moden” ,maka Dr Arif Karkhi Abukhudairi pula bolehlah disifatkan sebagi “ Perintis Terjemahan Melayu-Arab Melayu Moden.”

(5)In another review about the same book Badaruddin H.O.,a Bruneian poet and critic states that” Buku yang ditulis oleh Dr Arif Karkhi Abukhudairi mengenai penyair Skukri Zain dengan mengemukakannya sebagai pelopor syair Islam di Brunei Darussalam sagatlah dialualukan.Ianya suatu usaha besar,walau pun mungkin baru sebagai usaha mengenal karya sastera bernafaskan Islam dari Brunei.Tambahan pula usaha ini dari luar negeri yang memperkenalkan karya sastera Brunei kepada kalangan budaya dan sastera di Mesir.Dalam buku yang megetegahkannya sebagai pelopor puisi Islam ini Dr Arif telah berhasil baik menyoroti karya Shukri Zain dari sudut-sudut seni sastera khasnya puisi. Tentulah pembaca di Nusantara dan di luarnya akan terdorong untuk menjejak lebih jauh keujudan puisi Islam atau yang bernafaskan Islam hasil karya penyair-penyair yang terdahulu dan yang sezaman dengan Shukri Zain.Kita mengucapkan tahniah kepada penulis dan penyusun buku ini yang dengan gigih mengikuti kemudian memahami dan sekaligus menikmati karya sastera Brunei sehingga telah mendorongkannya memperkenalkan keujudan sasterawan Islam di Brunei kepada dunia luar.”

(6) In a review of Tales From the Arabian Sahara: The Trip and Other Stories , Jonathan Grimes ,a British critic says, “As with his beautiful, quietist poetry collection, "Trees Leaves", Mr Khudairi here demonstrates a keen sense of beauty-in-istigkeit, in the this-ness of the desert, the sanguine warmth of human contact, and the existential commonplaces which, in truth, are never commonplace as before, and come to one continually, as Chesterton once happily described it, as if God were a delighted child raising the dawn each day for the sheer undiluted joy of "doing it again". The author here marries this natural percipience of wonderment to an equally keen sense of comedy and horror: the result is a superb transcription of the little-known Arabic folk tales. "The Reward" - a strangely familiar folk tale which will strike a chilling chord with those who read it, while the others delineate a fabulous backdrop of scheming bedouins, honour and blood-soaked princes, and women of strength and autonomy, a pleasant catholicon to the traditional Western perspective which has too often viewed Eastern women as pitiable, oppressed ciphers. Khudairi, a Professor of Arabic Studies, is as informed a scholar of these matters as can be imagined - comparisons can be made with Miguel Orio's passionate advocacy of Maoritanga - and it is to be hoped that he will continue his role as de facto custodian of the folk tale re-interpreted and written anew for many years to come.”

(7) In a review of The Abode of Peace, the Malaysian Professor Dato’ Dr Hashim Awang asserts that” Dr Arif Khudairi is a well-known bilingual scholar-poet. His new anthology is considered to be very interesting anthology in terms of theme and structure of the poems. Its main theme the author has focused on is ‘peace’ an important issue to be seriously highlighted or discussed, especially in this particular era of globalization .The author has chosen appropriate form of poem to effectively convey his important messages. He creates two different forms which can easily be called short-form and prose-form poem .What makes his poems look beautiful and interesting is that the author just gives the ‘story’ and the readers themselves have to think and reveal the meaning behind it. This shows that professor Mahir Shafiq Farid ,Professor of English at Cairo University, whohas commented on these short poems written by Dr Arif Khudairi is very true when he says that they are ”incisive ,ironic and witty.” This new literary work of Dr. Arif Khudairi is very delightful to be read. The readers can experience the enjoyment as well can gain some benefit from it.”

(8) In an introduction to The Rubaiyat of Arif Khudairi, Pofessor Mahir Shafiq Farid says that” Khudairi as pointed out by several commentators on his work, is a man with a deep religious sense. In his world, barriers between body and soul come down. His poems offer a fresh perspective on man’s relation to God. This he achieves not through flat assertion or discursive argumentation but through a passionate grasp of personal experience. A true Muslim, Khudairi does not blame man’s defects on destiny. Given the importance attached by Islam to man’s responsibility and free will, the doctrine of Predestination has never really taken root in Arabic culture. One does not read far into this slim volume of 100 pages before one realizes that Khudairi is a master of his craft. There is no cleavage in his work between emotion and thought. With a through grounding in two cultures, he has managed to fuse what is best in both.

These short poems-incisive, ironic and witty-are a record of his own inmost experience. But they are not out of touch with some major current of thought of our- and of all times.”

(9) In a review of the same anthology, American poet, Cyndy Shubert-jett, says, Rubaiyat!The very name brings to mind images of Arabian Nights, magic carpets and mystical adventures, sensual nights and romantic encounters, a deep appreciation of beauty within the world around us, and an acknowledgement of shared emotions touching each of us, soul to soul! Step into the world of Arif Khudairi, share the beauty and romance of his world. It has been my pleasure to share these journeyings through the world of Arif Khudairi. Please, sit in his tent, listen to the desert winds whisper of those other times and places that still captivate our hearts!”

(10) In this introduction to “Love Poems”, Professor Dr S.R. Siddiqui, a Pakistani critic states that “ Arif Khudairi is not only a poet, but a Philosopher-Poet. He is a learned and well- read scholar. He studied widely and at last he stands in the long line of the well-known poets of the east, starting from Hafiz,Umar khayyam, Rumi and ending at Iqbal.

Arif Khudairi’s Love Poems is indeed a marvelous collection. Its profound and lively poems arouse the aesthetic sense within its reader. The melody of the poetry is high and the construction is precise. It is an anthology that will definitely take its place among the works of the great love poets.

What Poetry Means to Me

by Arif Khudairi

Some people still view poetry as metrical writing consisting of meaning, sound, rhythm and rhyme and thus they merely focus on its form, although poetry is beyond meters, beyond rhythm, beyond rhyme. Poetry is a genuine feeling poured down in words marked with artistry and grace, a combination of painting and music made out of love for the Divine, the universe and mankind.

Poetry to me is neither an expression of the poet's personality as assumed by Wordsworth, nor an escape of it as perceived by Eliot. It is, as I see it, a process of exploring the true identity of man, a discovery of life, and a search to trace the spirit of humanity and the essence of the universe.

Poetry is power originated from uniquely combined elements, namely its sentiment, language, symbols and melody. Such power has a profound influence on people's hearts and minds. With this power, poetry inspires mankind to change themselves, their conditions and their entire world.

Poetry helps us to become less vain and more humble. It protects us from being deluded by science and technology, brings us closer to our hearts, makes us to discover the essential nature of life, and explore the message of man as an agent of God on this earth.

Poetry is a form of art, a creative production, not a wonder land that we escape to, or a luxury that we indulge in to amuse ourselves, but a tool to beautify our life and to confront the problems and difficulties that we face such as wars, violence, and disintegration. It helps us to reach God, and to reach out to others. In addition, it shows us the way to the world that we hope to live in, and leads us to beauty, goodness and truth.

We, human beings, do not live in bodies only, but we live in bodies and souls. We need poetry to nourish our souls, and cure ourselves from sorrows and pains always. Today, we need poetry in particular, and art in general, more than ever as our modern world suffers from serious social problems including poverty, materialism, selfishness, hostility and wars. That is why I believe that poetry has its place today, and it will definitely remain forever.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Arif Khudairi gives his keynote address at a conference on translation at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Serdang,Malaysia (part 3)

Arif Khudairi gives his keynote address at a conference on translation at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Serdang,Malaysia (part 2)

Arif Khudairi gives his keynote address at a conference on translation at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Serdang,Malaysia (part 1)