Rhyme and reason
Shamim Azad is one of the noted Bangladeshi poets and short story writers. She has been living in London for over 20 years and frequently visits Dhaka. Besides writing poetry, Azad has also associated with organisations like Brac University and the British Council in Bangladesh regarding several activities. She is also conducting story-telling sessions with students of colleges and universities in Bangladesh and abroad.
Azad's poems reflect her observations and experiences, being a part of the expatriate community -- their woes and separation from the homeland. Her writing provides insight into human relationships, the Liberation War, nature and more.
Azad's first book “Sporsher Opekkha Kobita” was published in 1981 and second book “Bhalobashar Kobita” was published in 1982. Initially she wrote for 'Mukuler Mehfil' in the daily Azad; Purbo Desh; Lolona and Ittefaque. Her contemporaries include Ali Imam, Hasan Shahriar, Mohammad Jahangir, Syed Manzoorul Islam, Muntasir Mamun and Ajmeri Zaman.
Azad spent her early days in Jamalpur. “The atmosphere was serene. I would observe my surrounding at night. I guess that's when I became nocturnal. I still like to work at night. Night provides me with a quietness, which helps me to get closer to nature.
“I started writing poetry when I was a teenager. I grew up amidst nature and tried to discover and interpret my thoughts and visions through words,” she says.
Azad's writings published in the weekly Bichitra [in the '80s] made her popular among the readers of Bangladesh. She said, “I remember Bichitra as the first safe haven in Bangladesh for my creativity. During my tenure with the popular weekly, I was introduced to many eminent writers, poets and educationists. My intellectual creativity was nurtured by my proximity to these wizards of words.”
Azad's favourite poets are Benjamin Jephanaya, Wendy Coope, John Hedley and Michael Roosen. She said, “Reading with children is amusing and one of the best ways to nurture their creativity. Children have an inherent love for stories. A story creates a dream, vision, harmony and a sense of contemplating the world.”
Azad considers herself to be modernist poet and her approach is rhythmic. In every short story and poem, she likes to experiment with form, content and backdrop. Incidents from everyday life can be easily found in many of her short stories. Images of rain, moonlit night, greenery, clouds, paddy field and other familiar aspects of Bangladeshi life are recurring subjects and themes in her poems. Her poetry highlights a greater social and cultural mingling. Her works also feature contemporary London life and times.