Pakistan-born British poet Imtiaz Dharker has turned down the highest honour in British poetry to focus on her writing and body of work. According to a reports published in The Guardian, Dharker was set to be named as the next poet laureateship, but she chooses to stay away from the public role.
“I had to weigh the privacy I need to write poems against the demands of a public role. The poems won. It was a huge honour to be considered for the role of poet laureate and I have been overwhelmed by the messages of support and encouragement from all over the world,” the report quotes Dharker, who has written extensively on religion, culture, feminism.
According to a report in Daily Mail, she would have been the first Asian and second woman to become poet laureate in the position’s long history of 350 years.
Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Dharker, 65, grew up in Glasgow. Refusing to attach a label to herself, in 2015 she had appeared on Desert Island Discs and had told Kirsty Young, “I am a Pakistani-Scottish Calvinist Muslim, adopted by India and married into Wales. Don’t try to put me in a box. I’m a cultural mongrel.”
In 2014 she was awarded with the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. She is also a former poet-in-residence at Cambridge University Library. The rich heritage she comes from is often reflective in her work.
The Sunday Times had reported last week that Dharker was due to be announced Poet Laureate this month. However, no formal offer was made to or accepted by any candidate for the laureateship, and the selection process is still underway, according to The Guardian.