Registers of Illuminated Villages: Poems (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Through her impeccable manipulation of poetic form, Tarfia Faizullah brilliantly makes you feel all the pain, hunger, and anxiety that these poems narrate. This book shows poetry's immense power to rewire our experience of the world in unexpected and touching ways. Navigating between individual bodies in pain to losses felt by entire cities, Faizullah shows us how language can turn violence and loss into reparation, understanding, and dazzling illumination.

-- Adam

— From Adam F. Staff Picks

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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781555978006
ISBN-10: 1555978002
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Pages: 96
Language: English