Tarfia is one of my favorite poets on this list. I've had the good fortune to meet this incredible woman twice, once at a feature I did in Berkeley, and once at a reading we did together. So I can assure you she's human and whatever, but I initially assumed robotics came into play when such an unfathomable heart and such talent on the page worked in concert.
Why is she so good? She's obviously very well-read, and she uses that reading to further her work. Of the batch of poems she sent me, one referenced Valléjo, another Tranströmer – two very different but important poets – and she did both of them justice, without losing touch with her own style. And Faizullah has elegant style. She knows line, pacing, and imagery. She understands beauty in the best way: as a means of perceiving the world as something much more grand than our tiny concerns. I'm so glad to share a little bit of her work with all of you. Her first book is coming out next year. You should read it and discover the gorgeous patterns she makes.
The poem below was previously published in The Missouri Review.
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), winner of the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems appear in Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, New England Review, Washington Square, and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Project Award, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Copper Nickel Poetry Prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Sewanee Writers’ Conference, fellowships from the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop and Vermont Studio Center, and other honors.