Interview with Tarfia Faizullah

Tarfia FaizullahHamtramck, MI

Tarfia Faizullah

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.

BNP Faizullah.jpg

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?


Follow Tarfia on Facebook or Twitter: @tarfiafaizullah.  Read "Self-Portrait as Slinky" and 49 other poems selected by Brenda Shaughnessy by pre-ordering Best New Poets 2013.