A poetry recitation with women poets (also participants of the conference) drew over 300 people to the first ever all women’s ‘Mushaira’. The arrangement was in the traditional style of floor seating and a stage and backdrop to create the atmosphere of a ‘Mushaira’ where the ‘audience’ is uninhibited in lauding the poets or appreciating the verse which creates a rapport between the poets and their listeners.
Kishwar Naheed compered the recitations, introducing each poet and her personal and political inspirations. The themes of all verses shared the essence of feminist poetry – a political consciousness, recognition of masculine literary styles as the determinants of mainstream literary genres, and an understanding of women’s experiences. Most poems were created specifically for the conference poetry recitation and were bold in their themes, vocal in their message and singular in their styles. Some poems were strongly critical of patriarchy, while others celebrated women’s differences. Still others had strong overtones of political criticism of patriarchal state institutions, or oblique references to oppressive regimes and undemocratic forces.
Poetry recitation by women poets includes: Farhat Parveen, Gulanar Tabassam, Naseem Bano, Shahnaz Muzamil, Dure Anjum Arif, Bushra Ijaz, Attiya Dawood, Sarvat Mohiuddin, Kishwar Naheed, Azra Abbas, Shahida Hasan, Parveen Shakir, Shabnam Shakil, Fehmida Riaz.