Henna Babar Ali is company executive who has continued to pursue a parallel career as a well-known English language poet in the hub of Lahore’s literary activities, often writing under her married name of Henna Faisal Imam too. Her new collection Dream and Reality is her most substantial offering to date and covers a diversity of subjects from small, personal observations and political comments to a poetry which explores the mystical experience.

Many of her poems reflect the inner and outer consciousness and are built of vivid, surreal images. The opening poem “Illusion” begins:

I reclined on the armchair of dreams
and the leaves beneath my feet
rustled and ruined yellow to green
In the night, the ambulance beaks
the silence that we crave for
and in the afternoon sun.
all things seem Holy.

In this collection, the poet often contemplates life and death. A spiritual yearning runs through her work too. Several poems are clearly influenced by the oriental poetic tradition, in which the beloved is both lover and spiritual guide. Some such as "Unified Soul II' come together effortlessly as a cohesive whole, but others including "The Awaited One" and the "God" series require more subtlety and control.

"Nuclear star" is a particularly fine example of Henna’s eye for detail and her ability to link the physical and metaphysical. The poem knits together images of a nuclear explosion and Lahore’s intens summer sun and culminates with the lines:

I have seen your face in the sun,
Your eyes drop into the sand at night
And tears form dew on cactus thorns.
The sun rises and sets for judgement
And twists the tail of time.

Many of her poems address environmental and political issues, including "The shrinking planet" and “National predicament"; while poems such as "A strange encounter", meditate upon the universe. The feminist consciousness has always permeated Henna Babar Ali's writing. In "Me and myself – woman" she gives voice to a woman's suppressed sense of self, while "Moon" subverts an old patriarchal image to reflect upon beauty and the concept of a woman on the moon.