Rooftops in Karachi

Misbah Khokhar (2011). Rooftops in Karachi MPhil Thesis, School of English, Media, and Art History Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Misbah Khokhar
Thesis Title Rooftops in Karachi
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media, and Art History Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-02
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Bronwyn Lea
Total pages 79
Total black and white pages 79
Subjects 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Abstract/Summary Rooftops in Karachi is a book-length collection of prose poems which deal with my experiences as a Pakistani woman living in Australia and reflecting on my country of birth. My reflections and experiences are an attempt to catch moments and memories that altered or affected the metaphysical directions of the protagonists in the poems. These poems are snapshots of time, describing and threading together imagined and real circumstances. While each poem traverses a geographical region, the most difficult and deepest territory seems to me to be the territory of individual human lives and the choices people make. My Mother who was born in Australia, met my Father who was born in Pakistan, in England in the 1970's. They fell in love and crossed a great cultural and religious divide to work at a life together. I am the eldest of three, the only daughter, and the child they chose to have in Pakistan. This decision was to shape my relationship to Pakistan, and my need to explore the idea of territories through my creative work. I also have had a lifelong fascination for imagined spaces, in between regions, and artists who create them. I have been back to Pakistan only three times in my life but this brief time has left an incomparable impact upon my need to recreate these stories of my journeys to Pakistan. These sections are Geography, Metaphysics, and Outposts. While each poem fits into one of the categories, the categories however are linked. This is because geography is indelibly linked in my mind to metaphysics—knowledge and imagination, and both metaphysics and geography are hinged upon the idea of Outposts. This is because Outposts can be experienced as geographical, iii metaphysical, and a blending of both. The poems transcend time but are related to specific moments that occur to me as pictures, or landscapes in my head. The exegesis 'Poetic Territories' is divided into three sections; Geography, Metaphysics, and Outposts. Geography explores family stories and the way landscape and place has developed and influenced my poetry, specifically my estrangement from the regions of Punjab, Kashmir, and Karachi. It also pays homage and celebrates the lives of people I have not seen in over ten years. Metaphysics discusses the influence of my upbringing as a Muslim and the cultural differences I felt growing up in Australia. These experiences were instrumentals sites of struggle that helped me develop my own poetic voice and to take pleasure in my exploration of God, rebellion, identity, and place. Outposts is the place reached by estrangement and reflection. This section looks at how geographical and metaphysical territories map out new territories, and the intersections of meaning and culture that bring new hybrids of creativity into being. Sometimes the result of struggle is estrangement and isolation—an outpost, but for the purposes of this collection of poetry, my examination doesn't see an outpost as estrangement or isolation, but rather a space that is the opportunity for an exploration of human imagination and belonging.
Keyword Pakistan, identity, difference, metaphysics, geography, outposts

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Created: Thu, 28 Apr 2011, 20:26:07 EST by Ms Misbah Khokhar on behalf of Library - Information Access Service