Get Lit Minute

Tarfia Faizullah | "Self-Portrait as Slinky"

October 17, 2022 Get Lit - Words Ignite Season 4 Episode 15
Get Lit Minute
Tarfia Faizullah | "Self-Portrait as Slinky"
Show Notes

In this week's episode of the Get Lit Minute, your weekly poetry podcast, we spotlight the life and work of poet, Tarfia Faizullah. She is the author of two poetry collections, REGISTERS OF ILLUMINATED VILLAGES (Graywolf, 2018) and SEAM (SIU, 2014). Tarfia’s writing appears widely in the U.S. and abroad in the Daily Star, Hindu Business Line, BuzzFeed, PBS News Hour, Huffington Post, Poetry Magazine, Ms. Magazine, the Academy of American Poets, Oxford American, the New Republic, the Nation, Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket, 2019), and has been displayed at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere. Tarfia’s writing is translated into Bengali, Persian, Chinese, and Tamil, and is part of the theater production Birangona: Women of War. Tarfia’s collaborations include photographers, producers, composers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists, resulting in several interdisciplinary projects, including an EP, Eat More Mango. Source

This episode includes a reading of her poem, “Self-Portrait as Slinky”, featured in our 2022 Get Lit Anthology.

“Self-Portrait as Slinky”

It’s true I wanted

             to be beautiful before

                         authentic. Say the word

                                      exotic. Say minority


a coiled, dark curl

            a finger might wrap

                         itself in—the long

                                    staircase, and I was


the momentum

           of metal springs

                       descending down

                                    and down,

a tension


—the long staircase,

            and I was a stacked series

                       of spheres finger-tipped

                                   again into motion—say


taut, like a child

            who must please

                        the elders and doesn’t

                                     know how, a curl pulled


thin. I wanted to be

            a reckoning, to tornado

                       into each day’s hard

                                   hands, that wanton


lurching forward

            in the dark, another

                        soaked black ringlet,

                                    that sudden halting

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