The Devil’s Thumbprint

Andrew Eagle in The Daily Star:

Aa-tdt_coverConfident concrete pillar, gleaming glass, reflection, angle and contemplative curve: seemingly simple, skyscrapers are, at their best, towers of thought. Modern design conceals little, so it seems –neither shy to be straightforward nor backward in coming forward.

How the light will play, the engineering dimensions and even the impact of shadow through the day will have been considered. Simplicity is not simplicity in the end.

Poet Ahsan Akbar in his first collection, “The Devil's Thumbprint” published by Bengal Lights Books in 2013 has likewise pursued architecture of the modern kind. The collection was criticised on first submission, with one potential Bangladeshi publisher claiming Akbar's work was “too permissive and explicit.” It's true that some of the poems concerning the themes of attraction are not for the prudish.

But Akbar took the criticism as encouragement. He refused to consider the suggested edits and withdrew the manuscript. True to what he wanted – honesty and candour – his manuscript found its way…

It's not surprising it wasn't readily recognised. The deltaic tradition is substantially different. Whether it is the intricate beauty of Tagore, the labyrinth layers of Das or the zeal of the rebel poet – Akbar's work does not seem to draw from the same well. But the expectation of decorative adornment familiar to the renaissance building is unlikely to be fulfilled by a modern high rise. There's a need to look for something else.

More here.