Shadow Reader

Imtiaz Dharker


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

Bloodaxe Books Ltd
23 May 2024
ISBN: 9781780377094
160 pages

From the publisher

Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, 2014

Poetry Book Society Special Commendation

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.

Imtiaz Dharker grew up a 'Muslim Calvinist' in a Lahori household in Glasgow, was adopted by India and married into Wales. She was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2014 for her fifth collection Over the Moon and for her services to poetry. 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.

With 16 black and white drawings

‘Imtiaz Dharker’s poetry shines a light in the dark. She is interested in how things work, in art, in history, in politics… You cannot hear her perform without being somehow transformed by the experience. Witty, wise, profound and moving, her work crosses continents.’ – Jackie Kay, The Guardian