W.H.Auden says, “A poet is before anything else a person who is passionately in love with language.” After reading some poems from Atomic Haze by Tinat Atifa Masood, I felt the same thing about her. That evening I got Tinat Atifa Masood in a very elated mood. She was too happy with the Amrapali mango which reached her from Bangladesh PM Shekih Hashina. I was curious about her latest edition of Atomic Haze, a collection of poems reflecting her profound perception as a poet.
Atomic Haze is a collection of 50 poems on all different themes and it had its first edition in 2020 with later editions well received by readers.
In poem after poem Tinat discovers truths of life and the sharing with her readers is truly amazing. In one poem ‘A Wish’ she was waiting for writing a long poem ‘I want to write a poem / really a long one / Not specific”. This was because she was versatile in her thinking and multiple perspectives of society caught her attention as a social activist.
She tried to mingle this role with the role of a responsible poet. It was her country that she wants to write about. It was her state in which she took intense care for her poetic musings. She was deep but never lacked width. Her spectrum ranges from home to society, from society to the state and from state to the country and from the country to the universe.
On the one hand, she saw the crystallized tears of mothers and children and she wrote about it with tears in her eyes. Again she looked with ire when she described how brothers killing brothers simply because of communal grounds. Sometimes she felt tired of seeing all that happened or is still happening in the country.
The riots of Nellie made her sad and depressed but as a poet, she can at best write a long poem to enlighten her nation on the tragedy. This is how Tinat plays the responsible role of a poet and this book is a poetic manifesto for Indian English poetry from an Assamese female poet.
The book Atomic Haze contains 50 poems. The very first poems ‘Raining, Ma’ sets the time of the book which is about ‘Relationships’. In this poem, a daughter deliberately lost her umbrella ‘cause today I want the rain wash away your pain’. The readers are intrigued at the bypassing of the romantic content by a more ecological bonding of human with nature. ‘Forget me not ‘ends with a big question on relationship ‘But aren’t mothers and daughters supposed to grow old together?’
The poem ‘Nasty Clouds’ shows how the brightness of those nasty clouds and so evil but the poet says, “yet I planted a seed”. Tinat is romantic but never at the cost of reality. She takes count of each real shade in nature. She loves rain but never ignores the nasty cloud.
Love is not a cup of tea for Tinat though she has the expertise to write love duets and romantic poems elsewhere on social media. But in this book, love is depicted in a wonderful way with a philanthropic urge. “The Requiem for Love” is an unusual love poem where two loving souls take a pledge to do good for everyone and the final lines are just superb.
My lover and I flew over a rainbow / Our wings flapping together in unison”. Every poem takes its own time to find its audience. Tyenjam Bijoykumar Singh says, “The real beauty of her poems has that quality common to love, romance, longing but she hardly indulges herself in sentimental pangs.”
Tinat in an interview told me that she started writing at 18. But since that teenage period of poetic creativity, she was aware of her role as a responsible poet interestingly enough her first poem was about drug addiction. It was because she had met a drug addict for the first time in her life and she emoted from her first-hand experience of real-life around her.
When we read her poems we recall what Khalil Gibran told, “Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.”
Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee is an academician and poet. He may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org