Markings Publishing proudly presented their fourth title, ‘The Cave [The Worlds, Volume I]’ by poet Emad S. Rahim at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture in Karachi. Following the successful launches of a diverse portfolio of previous titles ‘BHV Zoo – Life at Bahawalpur Zoo’ by Amean J, ‘Mrs. Azra Syed’s Pakistan Cooking’ and ‘Dou Rukh’ by acclaimed photographers Arif Mahmood and Tapu Javeri, ‘The Cave’ is Markings Publishing’s first poetry title.
The launch was opened with an introduction to the evening by Tuba Arshad, Creative Manager at Markings where she invited poet Emad S. Rahim on stage who spoke about this work and efforts on working on ‘The Cave’. This was followed by a theatrical rendition of excerpts from the poetry book entitled ‘Within the Cave’, directed by Saba Sayeed and featuring personalities such as Rahat Kazmi, Khalid Ahmed, Aamir Qureshi, Joshinder Chaggar, Faraz Lodhi and Emad himself, with musical accompaniment by Alan Simon and Ahsan Shabbir.
Also in attendance were media personalities such as Arshad Mahmud, Sahira Kazmi, Khalid Malik, fashion designers Adnan Pardesy, Maheen Karim, Sanam Chaudhry and Warda, model Rabia Chaudhry, poet Faraz Maqsood Hamidi and members of the esteemed media present at the event. Public Relations for the event was handled by Lotus.
The genesis of what eventually became ‘The Cave’ occurred in a coffeehouse soon after Emad graduated from college in 2004, where he developed a handful of lines into a book-length narrative poem split into three volumes, entitled “The Worlds”. In the first volume, “The Cave”, the reader follows the narrator, a wealthy young merchant named Azle’ad al-‘Ezariya, into a coffeehouse in Istanbul, where he seeks to escape his troubles by immersing himself in others’ tales. These tales serve as lenses through which Azle’ad’s own fears, desires and memories are brought into focus. In ‘The Cave’, Rahim explores a variety of themes, including faith, temptation, love, lust, escape, pursuit, judgment, retribution, fantasy and chaos. The tales encompassing the overarching themes are channeled through historical, philosophical, mythological and fantastical dimensions, with the storytellers themselves being drawn from several spheres of life in 16th century Istanbul – beggars, singing girls, architects, pearl divers and the likes, shaping as nodes in the overall nexus of Azle’ad’s story.
“Pakistan has some of the most talented artists and writers in the world yet there is a dearth of creative outlets from where this talent can shine. When I initially read The Cave, I instantly thought of publishing it as I really liked the concept behind the book and how we ourselves sometimes act as Azle’ad. With this launch, I just simply want to promote the idea of arts & culture by reigniting the literary interest of our readers which has diminished over the years. I will keep publishing and promoting such talent in Pakistan with Markings.” quoting Kiran Aman, the entrepreneurial publisher behind Markings.
Sara Suleri Goodyear, who contributed a foreword to the book, writes, “His [Rahim’s] language is designedly archaic, and conveys a sense of being translated even though it was originally written in English, which is one of the skills of the poem. He deftly deals with Rubaiyat-style stanzas, and is somehow able to incorporate Greek mythology and echoes of Coleridge into the narrative. Of course, A Thousand and One Nights influences some of the structure of the poem. What is most original about “The Cave”, however, is how each tale opens a door into the following one, so that the poem has an embedded quality rather than a strictly linear one.”
Speaking about the launch of ‘The Cave’ by Markings Publishing, poet Emad S. Rahim said, “I wrote ‘The Cave’ for four main reasons. I wanted to play a part in revitalizing the art of narrative poetry, for which I used the vehicle of conventional verse. I wanted to explore history, for which I delved into Islamic civilization and its vibrant, remarkable cultural legacy founded on rational theology – a legacy forgotten far too often by its inheritors. I also wanted to inspire questions, for which I used the ears, voice and mind of Azle’ad, the narrator. Finally and perhaps most importantly, I wanted to entertain – through tales, the tellers of those tales and the phantasmagoric worlds they unfurled. I can only hope those worlds resonate for the reader as profoundly as they have for me.”
Published by Markings with a Cover Illustration by Ambreen Dar, Layout and Art Direction by Tuba Arshad at Markings and a Foreword by Sara Suleri Goodyear, ‘The Cave’ is now available to purchase for PKR 1,000 at Liberty Books in Karachi.