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Registers of Illuminated Villages

Tarfia Faizullah
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. 

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“Tarfia Faizullah is a poet of brave and unflinching vision.”—Natasha Trethewey

About the Author

Tarfia  Faizullah
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages and Seam, winner of a VIDA Award and a GLCA New Writers’ Award. She teaches at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
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Graywolf Literary Salon: Voices for Our Time

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Join us for the Third Annual Graywolf Literary Salon

The 2018 Graywolf Literary Salon: Voices for Our Time will feature Jamel Brinkley (A Lucky Man), Tarfia Faizullah (Registers of Illuminated Villages), and Wayétu Moore (She Would Be King) in conversation with Graywolf Director and Publisher Fiona McCrae and Executive Editor Jeff Shotts. Music will be provided by the Davu Seru Trio.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

105 North First Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401

All proceeds support Graywolf Press, a nonprofit publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of twenty-first century American and international literature. Reserve your place today!

  • Bookmark Ticket $35
    • ​Doors open at 7:00pm
    • Includes valet parking, one free drink, and admission to the program
  • Publisher Ticket $160
    • Reception starts at 6:00pm
    • Includes VIP reception with free drinks and delicious appetizers, valet parking, signed books by the featured authors, and admission to the program


  • “Faizullah’s entire collection—powerful, wide-ranging—is an affirmation, an accomplished second book.”—The Millions
  • “Intimate and prophetic. . . . A fierce confrontation of grief and belonging.”The Riveter
  • “In her fiercely original second collection, Tarfia Faizullah traverses the globe—northern Iraq; Flint, Mich.; West Texas; Bangladesh—and employs a range of formal experiments to illuminate acts of resistance in the face of injustice and violence.”Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
  • “This collection glows.”Signature Reads
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