Poet Tarfia Faizullah to conduct public reading Nov. 8

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October 24, 2018

Tarfia Faizullah

Tarfia Faizullah

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Poet and college educator Tarfia Faizullah will conduct a public reading at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in room 204, Gorecki Center, College of Saint Benedict.

The event is sponsored by the Literary Arts Institute, and is free and open to the public.

Faizullah’s most recent collection of poetry, “Registers of Illuminated Villages,” was released by Graywolf Press in March. It is a highly anticipated follow-up to her earlier collection, “Seam” (2014).

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Faizullah said her latest collection of poetry “is also as close as I’ve ever gotten to my own origin story. ‘Registers of Illuminated Villages’ addresses personal memory/history, questions of faith and other native geographies besides Bangladesh,” adding that she worked on the new collection for 15 years.

According to the Graywolf Press website, “Faizullah’s new work extends and transforms her powerful accounts of violence, war and loss into poems of many forms and voices — elegies, outcries, self-portraits and larger-scale confrontations with discrimination, family and memory.

“Faizullah is an essential new poet, whose work only grows more urgent, beautiful, and — even in its unsparing brutality — full of love,” the website continued.

Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, and raised in Midland, Texas. She earned an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in creative writing.

According to the Poetry Foundation, ‘Seam” explores the ethics of interviewing as well as the history of birangona, Bangladesh women raped by Pakistani soldiers during the Liberation War of 1971.

 “Seam” won numerous awards, including the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award; a VIDA Award; the Great Lakes Colleges’ Association New Writers’ Award; a Milton Kessler First Book Award; and the Drake University Emerging Writer Award.

Faizullah currently teaches in the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program as the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor in Poetry.

She has been invited to present her work at the Library of Congress, the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, all in Washington, D.C, and the Radcliffe Seminars at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2016, she was recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change.

Faizullah will be in residence from Nov. 6-9 at CSB and Saint John’s University.

The Literary Arts Institute (LAI) was founded in 1997 to foster creative writing, publishing and interaction between students and writers.

LAI brings nationally recognized authors to the college for a visiting writers series, promotes literary events, holds conferences, supports publications (S. Mariella Gable Prize) and encourages the artistry of fine letterpress (Welle Book Arts Studio). With its local and national partners, such as Graywolf Press, LAI is able to bring writers and their work together with readers on campus, in Minnesota and beyond.