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ISBN 978-1-909585-36-2
First published May 2021; 102 pp
paperback with endpapers; 210 x 150 mm
click here to read a pdf of the Contents page.

Nuzhat Bukhari was born in South Asia and moved to England in childhood. She has also spent a year living in Ireland and in America. She taught literature at Oxford and Cambridge for several years. Brilliant Corners is her first book.

Nuzhat Bukhari  Brilliant Corners


     Like an organ, a wire or a word at snap
                                                            – ‘Civics’


Brilliant Corners is both an inquiry into and a redressal of inherited cultures and the language that trips off our tongue. Its preoccupations are the tangible damage inflicted by empires, plunder of the global money markets, disfigured lives, and the bitter salves of Western privilege. Engaging with writers and artists in the European canon, in a wide range of forms the poems take necessary risks in their scrupulous approach to different experiences.

‘A richly cosmopolitan set of poems, unflinching and restrained in equal measure.’
     – Priyamvada Gopal

‘It’s a book that enlarges the poem.’ – D. Nurkse

‘Completely original and utterly inspiring.’ – Jon Snow

‘Like a diamond, these poems combine hard clarity with fascination. They are prismatic, with a tendency to make light behave treacherously. As they tilt and inflect, they reveal their corners: grim ironies and dazzling contradictions; points of unexpected contiguity; the cutlines between words and ideas, histories and narratives. They know, too, that a stone is a nucleus of guilty safety. The result is a collection that is abstract and adamant, sparkling, ruthlessly sharp.’
     – Abigail Parry

‘Real-world violence juxtaposed against the page, the proximity of the singular self to the wider brutality of history, and how those things interact, how the white page often sanitises what it writes about … These are poems which refuse to look away from the realities of empire and the canon – see a poem like “Adlestrop” which deconstructs and refigures the etymology of the words hiding just behind the place name, or the poem “Haiti” where Bukhari writes: “The underbrush of the English lyric catches my feet.”’
     – Andrew McMillan, PBS Bulletin

‘Bukhari tries on a wide variety of costumes, of forms, of approaches – there’s no shortage of ambition or, seemingly, of curiosity – literature, history science … There’s a sharpness – in both senses – to much of Bukhari’s writing, unafraid and high-stakes, not least in “Pathology”, an elegy with ice, or perhaps a splash of acid, in its veins … As with the body on the slab, Bukhari presents a similarly unimpressed, scrutinising front to the other patriarchal and imperial cadavers she confronts.’
     – Declan Ryan, Poetry Review

‘The strongest poems are written with almost clinical exactitude – scentless and surgical – like a surgeon deciding where to make the first incision … [Bukhari] wants to face horror and give it a voice. Her impacted language is part of that project: she is trying to find a way out of poetry’s lyrical daydream.’
     – Maitreyabandhu,
Brixton Review of Books

‘An “ungrateful immigrant”, the poet inspects a daffodil adorned with a stubbed-out cigarette and ponders how “the underbrush of the English lyric catches my feet”. Brilliant Corners is full of inglorious comedowns for imperial legacies and tormented meditations on art’s relationship with a fallen world. Tantalus becomes the “conflict mineral” tantalum, stowaways hidden in airplane landing gear fall on suburban gardens (“Black Icarus”), and Ethiopia’s Christian relics are pillaged by Victorian imperialists (“The Gap”). The lesson we learn is the grim absurdity of looking for lessons in atrocities: “sometimes I think wisdom from history is like that odd shoe / you find in the street & wonder how the person got home”. Mention should also be made of “Pathology”, one of the most devastating elegies for a father you are likely to read anytime soon.’
    – David Wheatley,