Imtiaz Dharker has turned down the chance to become the next poet laureate
The acclaimed poet Imtiaz Dharker has turned down the chance to become the next poet laureate to focus on her own work.
Miss Dharker, who was widely tipped to receive the highest honour in British poetry, would have been the first Asian laureate in the post’s 350 years.
The 65-year-old, who describes herself as a Pakistani Scottish Calvinist Muslim, says it was a ‘huge honour’ to be considered for the role but ‘the poems won’ as she wants to focus on her own writing.
‘I had to weigh the privacy I need to write poems against the demands pf a public role. The poem’s won,’ she told The Guardian.
‘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.’
Miss Dharker, who was born in Lahore but grew up in Glasgow, was due to be announced as the next laureate – taking over from Dame Carol Ann Duffy who has been in the post for 10 years this month.
The Queen presenting Imtiaz Dharker with The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry
It is understood that any formal selection was yet to take place but an announcement is expected this month.
The honorary position expects doesn’t entail any specific duties but he holder is expected to write verse for significant national and royal occasions.
It is now up to the individual whether or not to produce poetry for royal occasions.
Some former poet laureates have said the role has not been kind to their own their work.
Andrew Chalice, who held the position from 1999 to 2009 said the role was ‘very, very damaging to my work’. While still in the post he said: ‘I dried up completely about five years ago and can’t write anything except to commission.’
The 65-year-old, who describes herself as a Pakistani Scottish Calvinist Muslim, says it was a ‘huge honour’ to be considered for the role but ‘the poems won’ as she wants to focus on her own writing
A stipend of £5,750 is given to the laureate and traditionally a ‘butt of sack’ equivalent to roughly 600 bottles of sherry.
Ms Ann-Duffy, 63, used her money to fund a poetry prize.
A spokeswoman from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said yesterday: ‘The recommendations of an independent panel have been considered in the usual way. An appointment has not yet been confirmed