Tarfia Faizullah, Hamtramck, MI
Tell us a little about yourself.
Five things you may not know about me:
1) I was born in Brooklyn with teeth and a full head of hair.
2) I hate cilantro and celery.
3) I went to the National Spelling Bee when I was in 8th grade.
4) I am skilled at the art of the breakfast taco.
5) I read the entire Qur'an by the time I was seven years old.
How did you begin writing poetry?
I've been writing poems since I was a shy, overweight, and nerdy child. I learned early that there is no place safer or more exciting than my own poetic imagination, and I try to get back to that place as often as I can.
Tell us about “Self-Portrait as Slinky,” the poem that was selected for Best New Poets 2013.
I've felt an affinity with the Slinky since I was a little girl. I remember spending hours encouraging it down the stairs, in awe. A few summers ago, Jake Adam York challenged me to write a self-portrait poem. I immediately thought of that Slinky and realized how much a Slinky resembled one of my own curls: a thin line when pulled taut, but a coil when at rest. I began to see it as a metaphor for tension as well as the forward momentum of one's own life.
What question do you wish I'd asked?
Do you believe in ghosts?