Paperback. Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press, 2014.
Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry: First Book Award.
Winner, Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) New Writers Award 2014
The poems in this captivating collection weave beauty with violence, the personal with the historic as they recount the harrowing experiences of the two hundred thousand female victims of rape and torture at the hands of the Pakistani army during the 1971 Liberation War. As the child of Bangladeshi immigrants, the poet in turn explores her own losses, as well as the complexities of bearing witness to the atrocities these war heroines endured.
Throughout the volume, the narrator endeavors to bridge generational and cultural gaps even as the victims recount the horror of grief and personal loss. As we read, we discover the profound yet fragile seam that unites the fields, rivers, and prisons of the 1971 war with the poet’s modern-day hotel, or the tragic death of a loved one with the holocaust of a nation.
Moving from West Texas to Dubai, from Virginia to remote villages in Bangladesh and back again, the narrator calls on the legacies of Willa Cather, César Vallejo, Tomas Tranströmer, and Paul Celan to give voice to the voiceless. Fierce yet loving, devastating and magical at once, Seam is a testament to the lingering potency of memory and the bravery of a nation’s victims.
About the Author
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), which won the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry’s First Book Award. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a fellowship from the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop, among other honors. Her work has appeared in Blackbird, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and American Poetry Review. Faizullah is the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Creative Writing in poetry at the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writer’s Program, a writer-in-residence for InsideOut Literary Arts Project, and a poetry reader for New England Review. She is an MFA graduate of the creative writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University.