Tarfia Faizullah Archive
Two adjacent poems in Tarfia Faizullah’s new collection reckon with the ways in which others—readers, peers, and perhaps mentors—respond to and even challenge the traumatic subjects about which a poet writes.
For so long, I’ve heard academic poets and readers disparage poems written to be spoken aloud, condemning them as less thoughtful, as noisy and navel-gazey, their craft less delicate and considered.
A poem’s epigraph does more than set the tone—it raises the stakes before the poem even begins. Almost every poem could have an epigraph, if inspiration and interest were the criteria. But I’d like to propose the opposite. Let’s put a moratorium on epigraphs.
The work of getting a manuscript published, that rejection and frustration, begins to feel at times like self abuse. Writing is a lonely adventure, but most of us feel driven to it; quitting is inconceivable. Submitting work, though, is more like managing a business, and most poets I know