Imtiaz Dharker in Night Mail tribute film
Railway Nation: A Journey in Verse, BBC Two, Saturday 1 October 2016, 9-10 pm, rebroadcast on BBC Four, Sunday 21 March 2021
Imtiaz Dharker was one of the poets filmed for this touching tribute to Auden's documentary Night Mail. It was first broadcast on BBC Two on 1 October 2016, and rebroadcast on BBC Four on 21 March 2021.
Five poets took turns to write poems during the journey from London to Glasgow, with Pakistan-born and Glasgow-bred Imtiaz Dharker writing a poem in response to the final part of the journey from Carlisle to Glasgow. Imtiaz features from 45.12, and her poem is ‘Like Letters to Glasgow’. Sean O'Brien's poem 'Railway Nation', narrated by Maxine Peake, linked the journey together.
When the programme was first broadcast, Imtiaz Dharker's most recent collection was Over the Moon, for which she was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. She has since published her sixth collection Luck is the Hook.
‘In 1936, poet WH Auden and composer Benjamin Britten made a classic documentary about a train travelling across Britain - Night Mail. Now, 80 years on, six of Britain's best poets travel in Auden's footsteps, capturing, in verse, the human stories of those on board the west coast main line. Uncovering stories of love, loss and longing, their poems will ask who we are today through the journeys we make.
As the train hurtles across the country, a relay of poets will climb aboard to record each region. British-Egyptian poet and playwright, Sabrina Mahfouz (Fringe First Award, Sky Arts Futures Fund Award) will capture the journey out of London. Michael Symmons Roberts (Forward Prize, Costa Prize, Whitbread Prize) narrates Milton Keynes to Birmingham. Black Country-born Liz Berry (Somerset Maugham Award, Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award, Forward Prize) takes us from Birmingham to Crewe. Barnsley-bred Andrew McMillan (winner of Guardian First Book Award and Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize) narrates from Crewe to Carlise. And Pakistan-born, Glasgow-bred Imtiaz Dharker (Queen's Gold Medal for poetry) closes the journey, travelling from Carlisle to Glasgow. Sean O'Brien (Cholmondeley Award, Eric Gregory Award, TS Eliot Award) has composed a new poem that links the journey together. His words are spoken by Maxine Peake.’
Click here to watch. (Imtiaz features from 45.12) Available until 21 April 2021.
[26 March 2021]