Bangladeshi American poet Tarfia Faizullah grew up in Midland, Texas. She earned an MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University program in creative writing. Her first book, Seam (2014), won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Focused around a long sequence “Interview with a Birangona,” the book explores the ethics of interviewing as well as the history of the birangona, Bangladeshi women raped by Pakistani soldiers during the Liberation War of 1971. Faizullah received a Fulbright award to travel to Bangladesh and interview the birangona. Of her book, Faizullah has said, “I don’t believe that there is an art that can ever render something as unreasonable and as violent as human suffering. I tried to write a book that acknowledges the limitations of that rendering as much as it is helpless before those ‘images of the atrocious’ and the ways in which those images are forgotten even as they continue to haunt us.”
Faizullah’s honors and awards include an Associated Writers Program Intro Journals Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, a Copper Nickel Poetry Prize, a Ploughshares’Cohen Award, and a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Margaret Bridgman Scholarship in Poetry. A Kundiman fellow, she lives in Detroit where she teaches at the University of Michigan and is an editor for the Asian American Literary Review and Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Series. Her second book is Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf Press, 2018). She is currently a visiting artist in residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.