The Rapidian

Two Detroit poets to bring new stories to Grand Rapids

Tarfia Faizullah and Jamaal May will read from their first books of poetry, which discuss the history of Detroit and Bangladesh.

Event Information

Monday, February 16, from 7:30-8:45 p.m

The University Club, located in the Richard M. DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Grand Valley State University campus

Free to the public

Books available for purchase

Event page at GVSU

Michigan poets Jamaal May and Tarfia Faizullah are visiting Grand Rapids to share their work and talk about their craft in a two-for-one writers event at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) on the evening of Monday, February 16.

"This is part of the Grand Valley Writers Series, which invites talented and accomplished emerging writers to campus to meet with students and give readings from their work," GVSU Writers Series Coordinator Oindrila Mukherjee says. "As series coordinator it has been my attempt to introduce more diversity to the students here and also celebrate unique and exceptional writing."

May is a Detroit native, whose first book "Hum" explores machines, technology and the spirit of Detroit. The book attempts to capture the hum of the city of Detroit and all of the moving parts it contains. The book is the winner of the American Library Association’s Notable Book Award and received an NAACP Image Award nomination.

Faizullah's book "Seamexplores her Bangladeshi heritage and some of the impacts of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which took place in Bangladesh. "Seam" won the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, and Faizullah has also won a Pushcart Prize.

"Tarfia [Faizullah] and Jamaal [May] are Michigan-based poets who are bursting onto the literary scene even as we speak," Mukherjee says. "This is a rare opportunity for people here to come hear them read, purchase copies of their wonderful first books and get them signed."

May and Faizullah have worked together to help share their passion for poetry with not only the community of Detroit, but also with Michigan as a whole. Faizullah is a writer-in-residence for InsideOut Literary Arts, Detroit's largest literary arts nonprofit. The organization sends writers into Detroit classrooms to teach creative writing and poetry during year-long fellowships. InsideOut has led more than 50,000 young people in the city on adventures using poetry as their guide to becoming better students and ultimately more engaged citizens. 

Faizullah teaches at the University of Michigan as the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Creative Writing in Poetry, and May teaches in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Program from Detroit. May and Faizullah co-edit the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press and Video Series. 

Faizullah and May's reading is Monday, February 16 from 7:30-8:45 p.m. in the University Club, located in the Richard M. DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Grand Valley State University campus. The event is free to the public, and books will be available for purchase.

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