Winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, 2014
Imtiaz Dharker was born in Pakistan, grew up a Muslim Calvinist in a Lahori household in Glasgow, was adopted by India and married into Wales. Her main themes are drawn from a life of transitions: childhood, exile, journeying, home, displacement, religious strife and terror, and latterly, grief. She is also an accomplished artist, and all her collections are illustrated with her drawings, which form an integral part of her books.
Luck Is the Hook is her sixth book from Bloodaxe. In these poems, chance events play a part in finding, keeping or losing people and places that are loved: a change in the weather, a trick of language, a bomb that misses its mark, six pomegranate seeds eaten by mistake; random events that cast long shadows and raise questions about who is recording them, about believing, not believing, wanting to believe. A knot undone at Loch Lomond snags over Glasgow, a seal swims in the Clyde, a ghost stalks her quarry at the stepped well, an elephant and a cathedral come face to face on the frozen Thames, a return ticket is thrown into the tide of Humber, strangers wash in. Even in an uncertain world, love tangles with luck, flights show up on the radar and technology keeps track of desire.
Imtiaz Dharker was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2014 for Over the Moon and for her services to poetry.
‘This is a passionate, uplifting collection of poems about language, love and loss, grief and joy, elegy and celebration. The loss of a great love makes poems of piercing beauty. In her finest book to date, Imtiaz Dharker finds resolution in language itself, and in a world the more loved for the sharpness of loss.’ – Gillian Clarke [on Over the Moon]
'Imtiaz Dharker's new collection is the crown to a celebratory, humane, wholly utterable, subtly crafted poetry. Its dark jewels are the magnificent poems of bereavement, which will surely endure. Reading her, one feels that were there to be a World Laureate, Imtiaz Dharker would be the only candidate.' - Carol Ann Duffy [on Over the Moon]
‘…poems that wound and sear the mind while also allowing an exorcism of the trappings of loss.’ – Hayden Murphy, Glasgow Herald
‘Here is no glib internationalism or modish multiculturalism… Displacement here no longer spells exile; it means an exhilarating sense of life at the interstices. There is an exultant celebration of a self that strips off layers of superfluous identity with grace and abandon, only to discover that it has not diminished, but grown larger, generous, more inclusive’ – Arundhathi Subramaniam, Poetry International.
‘Her lucid and quiet, but strong, voice provides new insights into these troubled areas…living in a world, not just an adopted city, that is beset by terror, religious fundamentalism and the distrust/fear of the other’ – Nilufer Bharucha, Wasifiri
‘Set mainly in London, these poems can be as exuberant and as dark as the capital itself, and one of them includes the best line ever written about this uneasy, riparian foundation on the Thames.’ – Nicholas Crane, Best Books, The Week [on Over the Moon]
Imtiaz Dharker reads five poems
Imtiaz Dharker reads five poems: 'Blessing' from Postcards from god, 'Honour killing' and 'They'll say, "She must be from another country"' from I Speak for the Devil, and 'The terrorist at my table' and 'How to cut a pomegranate' from The terrorist at my table. This film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets (2008), filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley, which includes five poems read by Imtiaz Dharker selected from her first three Bloodaxe titles.