Shadow Reader is Imtiaz Dharker’s seventh book from Bloodaxe
Publication date: 23 May 2024
Shadow Reader is a radiant criss-cross of encounters, messages and Punjabi proverbs, shot through with the dark thread of an unwelcome prophecy. The poems bind this looming curse to the occupation of countries, the earth and its creatures, those who own the story and those who redirect it through art or artifice. ‘Does the warp look back at the one who is weaving and say, This is not how I remember it…?’
Imtiaz Dharker’s collection pays attention to wilful erasures, exclusions and also to places of sanctuary. This is poetry as music, as momentum, as the texture and taste of languages, joyously sensuous and rich in images. While it acknowledges the everyday and its shadows, it is also an irreverent, playful celebration of life.
Luck is the Hook is Imtiaz Dharker’s 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 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 tides 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 is one of the UK’s most celebrated poets and Luck is the Hook is a book of lived experience, by a writer at the peak of her powers… It never falters as it moves through personal history, opening into universal truths.’
- Sarah Westcott, Artemis
‘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
‘Imtiaz Dharker’s new collection is the crown to a celebratory, humane, wholly utterable, subtly crafted poetry. '
- Carol Ann Duffy