The Glimmer is a meditation on the time-span of life illuminated by many voices. In an artists’ colony in Mexico, a taxidermist tends animals in their after-life, contemplating what remains of us after death. Among the artists she encounters are a painter of miniatures, a war photographer, a light artist, a ghazal singer, and dancers from Tanzteater Wuppertal, as they reflect on the impulse to make work and meaning in a world where value is increasingly monetised.
Within the extended narrative are self-contained poems ranging in form from syllabics and ghazals to OULIPO-inspired anagram poems, drawing on found text and verbatim speech to bring a choir of voices to life. The title work is followed by two elegies.
The Glimmer is Shazea Quraishi’s second full-length book of poetry, following her debut, The Art of Scratching.
‘Shazea Quraishi’s second collection consists of one long poem (‘The glimmer’) and two elegies… This is a collection generous in wisdom, in which every act of creativity is underpinned by a refusal to accept the silence of death… As we are told in ‘Day 23’, ‘The form is always the measure of obsession’ and this is a good summary of the emotional core of this remarkable book.’ – Ellora Sutton, Mslexia
'... a rich and complex work which will keep poetry societies fully employed.' - Frank Startup, The School Librarian, on The Glimmer
'Poems in The Glimmer have a mesmeric quality, offering wisdom and quiet reflection on life/death and creativity, and something beyond, like 'seeing sound''. - Mary Mulholland, The Alchemy Spoon
‘In her exquisite The Glimmer, Shazea Quraishi speaks in the voice of a taxidermist, preserving the bodies of small creatures with painstaking skill... This intimate work leads her outwards, to engagement with other artists in the Mexican village where she is staying, and to meditations on the nature of art.’ - Dorothy Yamamoto, ARTEMISpoetry
‘…extraordinarily powerful and haunting Glimmer contains poems that range in form from syllabics and ghazals to OULIPO-inspired anagram. Quraishi’s poems emerge from found text and verbatim speech through the corridors of which she brings a choir of voices to life.’ – Ian Brinton, Long Poem Magazine
'Shazea Quraishi disguises her poetic of taking apart and reanimating as the work of a taxidermist-in-residence in Mexico. Under poetic constraints, poems are imaginative and precise, but also lean diminutive... Her vessels are suggestive: “Sometimes live birds / were enclosed in the hollow bodies of dolls.” Like a breath in a kiln, she catches life, cools it. A clay pot, now 1000 funerary folded cranes, now a film, a poem.' - Leah Jun Oh, Poetry Society Bulletin, Autumn 2022, on The Glimmer
‘Constraint, precision and technical mastery characterise this compelling and generous narrative of collective artistic endeavour. If the ‘form is the measure of the obsession’ then this collection is a lifelong obsession with the truth-telling nature of art.’ – Sasha Dugdale on The Glimmer
‘Shazea Quraishi’s first collection, The Art of Scratching, reveals the poet’s flair for re-imagining and feminising historical texts, and for inventing her own edgy fables of family life and childhood.’ - Carol Rumens, online Poem of the Week, Guardian
‘There is an intriguing collision between the archaeological and the lyrical in Shazea Quraishi’s series of poems, The Courtesans Reply… The props and rituals bestow on these poems an exotic otherness but the emotions they explore are timeless.’ – Stephen Knight, Ten
‘Shazea Quraishi is one of a number of younger black and Asian women poets currently gaining ground in UK poetry. In sensual, clear, perfectly measured tones, her poems meet the male gaze with a female voice.’ – Katy Evans-Bush, Poetry International Web
Shazea Quraishi reads from The Art of Scratching and The Glimmer via Zoom for Masala Festival 2022
Shazea Quraishi reads and introduces two poems from The Art of Scratching - ‘You May Have Heard of Me’ and ‘Ratisena’ - followed by several sections from The Glimmer. Shazea ends the reading with 'How it begins', one of the two elegies that close The Glimmer. Special thanks to Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts and GemArts.
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