8 Modern poets you must read now!

Poetry is something that can never be defined in a few words. Pakistan’s literature’s most loved era is Urdu poetry. Since the beginning, there have been many poets. So here’s a list of modern poets by The Meraki that you must read if you are a fan of Urdu poetry.


8 Modern poets you must read now!
ġham-e-āshiqī meñ girah-kushā na ḳhirad huī na junūñ huā
vo sitam sahe ki hameñ rahā na pa.e-ḳhirad na sar-e-junūñ

Born in 1910, Nazar Muhammad Rashed commonly known by his penname, Noon Meem Rashid, was one of the most influential modern poets of Pakistan in the history of Urdu literature.  He was a poet, a thinker and a critic. Rashed is often titled as a ‘universalist’.

With his free Urdu poetic verses (Azad Nazm), he remains an enduring favourite to the lover of Urdu poetry. Rashed is a difficult poet to be understood. With his unerring command over Urdu and Persian vocabulary, and it can be seen in his post-modern classical poetry. Mavra, La Musawi Insaan, Iran Mian Ajnabi and Gumaan Ka Mumkin are his notable works.

vahī manzileñ vahī dasht o dar tire dil-zadoñ ke haiñ rāhbar 
vahī aarzū vahī justujū vahī rāh-e-pur-ḳhatar-e-junūñ


8 Modern poets you must read now!
gar baazī ishq kī baazī hai jo chāho lagā do Dar kaisā 
gar jiit ga.e to kyā kahnā haare bhī to baazī maat nahīñ

Faiz Ahmed Faiz is considered to be the backbone of Pakistan’s Literature. With his outstanding poetry, he is one of the most loved poets in the country. Faiz was born in 1911, in Sialkot, Punjab. Alongside Allama Iqbal, on numerous occasions, he is titled as “The Poet of the East”.

His early poems have been traditional, and ebullient treatises about love and beauty. He debuted with “Naqsh -e- Fariad as his first collection, which quite literally rocked the literary world. Indeed, it is a masterpiece.  And, as time went on, Fiaz expanded his work on the basis of politics(With his powerful revolutionary thoughts he faced political repression), community and substantive coordination in both life and poetry. 

dil nā-umīd to nahīñ nākām hī to hai 
lambī hai ġham kī shaam magar shaam hī to hai


8 Modern poets you must read now!
ġham kī bārish ne bhī tere naqsh ko dhoyā nahīñ
tū ne mujh ko kho diyā maiñ ne tujhe khoyā nahīñ

Munir Niazi is not only known for his Urdu and Punjabi poetry but also for his songwriting skills in Pakistan’s film industry. He was born in 1923 in Khanpur, India and later ono migrated to Montogery where he established his own publishing house and A weekly journal called Saat Rang.

Tez hawa aur tanha phool, Mah-e-Munir, Pehli baat hii akhri thi, and hamesha der kaar deta hoon are a few of his most treasured works.

ye kaisā nashsha hai maiñ kis ajab ḳhumār meñ huuñ 
tū aa ke jā bhī chukā hai maiñ intizār meñ huuñ


8 Modern poets you must read now!

Habib Ahmed who is better known as Habib Jalib, Jalib being his pen name. Born in 1929, Habib Jalib was a revolutionary poet. His works mostly consisted of general problems related to people and society.

He wrote many books in his lifetime and a few of them are Sir-e-Maqtal, Zikr Behte Khoon Ka, Gumbad-e-Bedar, Kulyaat e Habib Jalib, Is Shehar-e-Kharabi Main, Goshay Main Qafas Ke, Harf-e-Haqq, Harf-e-Sar-e-Daar, Ehad-e-Sitam. Quite a few, aren’t they?

tum se pahle vo jo ik shaḳhs yahāñ taḳht-nashīñ thā 
us ko bhī apne ḳhudā hone pe itnā hī yaqīñ thā


8 Modern poets you must read now!
tum takalluf ko bhī iḳhlās samajhte ho 'farāz' 
dost hotā nahīñ har haath milāne vaalā

Syed Ahmed Shah, whom we have come to know as Ahmed Faraz was born in 1931. He started writing poetry in his early years at college. Ahmed Faraz emanated as a ghazal poet with a distinctive signature of his own. He has captured the traditional subjects of love and romance and the despair and disappointments of his then age.

This gave rise to some of the most exquisite illustrations of resistance poetry. Ahmed Faraz was a prolific poet with a handful of the treasury. Some of them are Tanha Tanha, Dard-e-Aashob, Janan Janan, Shubkhoon, Meray Khwab Reza Reza, Beaawara Gali Koochon Mein, Nabeena Shar Mein Aaeena, Pus Andaz Mausam, and Khwab-e-Gul Pareshan Hai. 

ranjish hī sahī dil hī dukhāne ke liye aa 
aa phir se mujhe chhoḌ ke jaane ke liye aa


8 Modern poets you must read now!
ilaaj ye hai ki majbūr kar diyā jā.ūñ 
vagarna yuuñ to kisī kī nahīñ sunī maiñ ne

Syed Juan Asghar who is widely known as Juan Elia born in 1931, is a widely celebrated poet for his contribution to Pakistan’s literature. His deep infatuation to the disciplines of history, philosophy and religion can easily be comprehended through his words.

His poetry is exceptional with its leisurely illustration and immediacy of appeal. Most of his anthologies were published posthumously which includes Yaani (2003), Gumaan (2004), Lekin (2006), Goyaa (2008) and a book in prose entitled Farmood (2008). Shaayed (1991)  was the only work published in his lifetime which is his very first collection ever written.

jo guzārī na jā sakī ham se
ham ne vo zindagī guzārī hai


8 Modern poets you must read now!
dil ko bhī ġham kā salīqa na thā pahle pahle
us ko bhī bhūlnā achchhā lagā pahle pahle

A true feminist poet of Pakistan. A prolific writer who withholds 12 published works. Kishwar Naheed born in 1940, with ‘Nahid; as her pen name is one of the most outstanding female poets of Pakistan.

Her concern regarding women and their rights can be keenly observed in her poems one of which is Asin Burian We Loko. she expresses the predicaments of women in a male-dominated society with an everlasting heartwarming and sentimental emotions in the readers’ hearts.

kuchh din to malāl us kā haq thā 
bichhḌā to ḳhayāl us kā haq thā


8 Modern poets you must read now!
kuchh to havā bhī sard thī kuchh thā tirā ḳhayāl bhī
dil ko ḳhushī ke saath saath hotā rahā malāl bhī

Parveen Shakir, a prominent figure in the world of modern Urdu poetry, was born in 1952. It is a shame that she died in an incident at the young age of 42 when she was at the peak of her success. She held much versatility within that apart for being a poet she was also a news correspondent, an educator and a civil servant.

Women like her are truly exemplary. All of her published works, which enlist Khushboo (1976), Sad-barg (1980), Khud-kalaami (1990), Inkaar (1990) and Maah-e-Tamaam (1994), equally hold a great prestige. 

ab to is raah se vo shaḳhs guzartā bhī nahīñ 
ab kis ummīd pe darvāze se jhāñke koī

// 8 Modern poets you must read now

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