Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Muse: Introduction to Imtiaz Dharker

So why do you write poetry?
I have no choice.
~ Imtiaz Dharker*

Poet Imtiaz Dharker was born in Lahore, Pakistan; spent part of her growing-up years in Scotland,  where she attended university in Glasgow; and has lived in Bombay. Currently, she makes her home in India, London, and Wales. Given her background, it is no surprise that her cultural experiences are reflected in her poems, whose subjects include not only childhood and family, place and home, but also transitions, dislocation and exile, violence, religious conflict, loss and grief, relationships, women's struggles, and choices and their consequences.

Dharker's poetry collections include Over the Moon (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), Leaving Fingerprints (Bloodaxe, 2009), The Terrorist At My Table (Penguin/India and Bloodaxe, 2006), I Speak for the Devil (Penguin/India and Bloodaxe, 2001), and Postcards from god (Viking Penguin, 1994). Her debut collection, Purdah and Other Poems (Oxford University Press 1989; available from resellers) was reprinted with Postcards from god by Bloodaxe in 1997. Several of her collections are available as e-books. 

Poems by Dharker also are found in a number of anthologies, including Furies: A Poetry Anthology of Women Warriors (Kindle, 2014), The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century British and Irish Women's Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Aqa Anthology: Moon on the Ties: Conflict & Relationships (Literature Guide for GCSE; Trans-Atlantic Publications, 2010), and Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights (New Internationalist, 2009)

Read 16 of Dharker's poems at her Website. Text of some of her poems also is found at Poetry International.

The poet, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the recipient of a 2014 Queen's Gold Medal, also is an artist; her beautifully made, haunting ink drawings have been reproduced in her poetry collections and exhibited in India as well as New York, London, and Hong Kong. In addition, Dharer makes documentary films in India.

Listen as Dharker reads two poems: the well-known "Blessing", from Postcards from god, and "They'll say, 'She must be from another country'", from I Speak for the Devil :

Imtiaz Dharker from Neil Astley on Vimeo.

The filming of the above reading took place in London.

In Person: 30 Poets, DVD-book (Pamela Robertson-Pearce)

Mark Brown, "Imtiaz Dharker Awarded Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry", The Guardian (Books), December 17, 2014

* Helen Bowell, "Interview with Imtiaz Dharker, Poet and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Judge", YM: New Work in Poetry, July 28, 2011

Imtiaz Dharker on Twitter and Vimeo

Dharker also performs her poetry in "Poetry Under the Stars" at YouTube.

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