Seam

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Southern Illinois University Press, Mar 6, 2014 - Poetry - 80 pages
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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, CÚsar Vallejo, Tomas Transtr÷mer, 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.

Winner, Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, 2014
Winner, Binghamton University Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award, 2015
Winner, Drake University Emerging Writers Award, 2015

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About the author (2014)

Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1980, and raised in Midland, Texas, by parents who had immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh in 1978. She has an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, Blackbird, The Massachusetts Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Ploughshares Cohen Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Kenyon Writers’ Workshop, and other honors.

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