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March 2018 Indie Next List
“'Why do you always ask what can't be answered?' Registers of Illuminated Villages is a collection of immense physical, emotional, and spiritual hunger. Faizullah explores the boundaries of open, unending questions as she looks for a timeline for grief, a god to fulfill the duties of a god, and a home that doesn't resemble home anymore. Contemplative and beautiful, this book should be held close to feel the power of its vulnerability.”
— Nicole McCarthy, King's Books, Inc., Tacoma, WA
"Tarfia Faizullah is a poet of brave and unflinching vision." --Natasha Trethewey
Somebody is always singing. Songs were not allowed. Mother said, Dance and the bells will sing with you. I slithered. Glass beneath my feet. I locked the door. I did not die. I shaved my head. Until the horns I knew were there were visible. Until the doorknob went silent.
--from "100 Bells"
Registers of Illuminated Villages is Tarfia Faizullah's highly anticipated second collection, following her award-winning debut, Seam. 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. One poem steps down the page like a Slinky; another poem responds to makeup homework completed in the summer of a childhood accident; other poems punctuate the collection with dark meditations on dissociation, discipline, defiance, and destiny; and the near-title poem, "Register of Eliminated Villages," suggests illuminated texts, one a Qur'an in which the speaker's name might be found, and the other a register of 397 villages destroyed in northern Iraq. Faizullah is an essential new poet whose work only grows more urgent, beautiful, and--even in its unsparing brutality--full of love.
About the Author
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam, winner of a VIDA Award and a Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. She teaches at the University of Michigan and lives in Detroit.
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