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God Loves a Drunk

Poet Imtiaz Dharker examines the uncontainable release of energy and exhilaration which comes with divine intoxication.

Award winning poet Imtiaz Dharker examines the phenomenon of divine intoxication - being drunk on God.

It's an experience which causes an uncontainable release of energy and intoxication, one that has inspired writers for centuries. Imtiaz explains “Before I ever tasted it I understood the metaphor of wine and its powerful spell. It was in the Urdu poetry my parents listened to, the ghazals and Hindustani film songs with the recurring theme of ‘nasha’, intoxicating love.”

Intoxication, especially when brought about by something as pure as love, offers us the chance to lose ourselves, to communicate with an elusive beyond. The imagery of intoxication flows through cultures, enriching art, songs and poetry. Drunkenness it transpires is not always frowned upon. At Purim, Jews are instructed to become inebriated, in memory of their deliverance through Esther. Dionysus offers liberation through wine, a release into exuberant fertility, music and dance.

Imtiaz draws upon the work of the 14th century Persian poet Hafiz and the Sufi poets who, despite being Muslims, used the metaphor of wine, taverns and heavenly barmaids to suggest a longing for God. Music featured includes Joni Mitchell, Jacques Brel and Richard Thompson.

Presenter: Imtiaz Dharker
Producer: Max O’Brien
A TBI Media production for BBC Radio 4

28 minutes

Last on

Sun 19 May 2019 06:05

Music Played

  • Joni Mitchell

    A Case of You

  • Richard Thompson

    God Loves a Drunk

  • George Melly

    Was I Drunk?

  • Inva Mulla Tchako And The London Symphony Orchestra

    Lucia Di Lammermoor

  • Jacques Brel

    La Valse a Mille Temps


Title: Ode 44

Author: Hafiz (translated by Richard Le Gallienne)

Publisher: Penguin


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