PBS Recommendation Summer 2021
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
"The idealist young Wordsworth dedicated a sonnet to the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture, who also features in Nuzhat Bukhari’s debut collection Brilliant Corners. 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 ('The Undocumented'), 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, The Guardian