City of Rivers

There is a new poet in the world, with a book called City of Rivers, and his name is Zubair Ahmed. Many people think they can write poetry, but this man actually can. For me, the fun in poetry is less in its form than in its tone, and in the ability of the poet to intuit unlikely images in order to convey emotion. At 23-years old, the native Bangladeshi does this effortlessly. There is a certain psycho/physiological condition called synesthesia, in which a sensory experience normally related to one part of the body is created by stimulation of another sensory area of the body. For example, people with synesthesia might see sounds or smell colors. Ahmed’s poetry is simply dripping with the condition. His poems are packed with metaphor and feeling that make your heart fall into your stomach and your mind spin with creative delight. In “My Ghost Sits In A Chair Near The Jamuna River” Ahmed writes, “His face looks/ Like an animal stretched by pulleys./ He must be the type who knows/ The value of a bent needle/ Placed on the coffin of a weaver.” Honestly, I’ve not yet read a contemporary poet of his equal.