Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Registers of Illuminated Villages: Poems” as Want to Read:
Registers of Illuminated Villages: Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Registers of Illuminated Villages: Poems

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  284 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Registers of Illuminated Villages is Tarfia Faizullah’s highly anticipated second collection, following her award-winning debut, Seam. Faizullah’s new work extends and transforms her powerful accounts of violence, war, and loss into poems of many forms and voices—elegies, outcries, self-portraits, and larger-scale confrontations with discrimination, family, and memory. One poem steps d ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Graywolf Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Registers of Illuminated Villages, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Registers of Illuminated Villages

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  284 ratings  ·  46 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Registers of Illuminated Villages: Poems
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: apl, 2018, poetry
4 stars

Apr 10, 2018 marked it as to-read
"I worry that my friends
will misunderstand my silence

as a lack of love, or interest, instead
of a tent city built for my own mind"

from "Poem Full of Worry Ending with My Birth"
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As I said to a friend, I wish I could give this one six stars! Such amazing writing--I always feel awed by poetry (or any writing actually) this amazing. It hardly seems possible that anyone could create such beauty. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous images and descriptions. I felt drunk on the writing (without any hangover)--filled with images and phrases, overflowing with intense feelings and heightened awareness and appreciation for life.

Faizullah writes of village life, of foods and f
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
4.5 stars. A phenomenally profound poetry collection in which each poem is cleverly crafted with bold, fresh and powerful imageries. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because of a proofreading error that recurred throughout: the use of 'everyday' in contexts in which 'every day' would have been more appropriate. Having said that, this would still be the best collection of poems I read this year so far.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I saw Tarfia Faizullah read poems at AWP this year, and my favorite from that day is also my favorite from this collection:

Self-Portrait as Mango (here at 40:07, must watch)

I also really liked

Before the Accident, and After (here at 44:07)


What This Elegy Wants
Kent Winward
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Faizullah does what so few poets do and achieve a universality with her lines. I joined the Rumpus poetry book club to try and get a feel for at least that poetic environment and so far, this has been far and away the best of the bunch.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mytbr
My first book from - I want more poetry, so I got more.

That being said, I am inexpert in this genre, so take my review with that grain of salt.

My only complaint is that it doesn’t feel accessible enough to me. I like the language & imagery, but something about almost every poem felt beyond my grasp. I surmise that Faizullah is writing about deeply personal moments. And I haven’t learned to unlock her language yet.

That being said, this volume is a
R.K. Cowles
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: graywolf-press
3 1/4 stars
Denver Public Library
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hana, poetry
The newest collection of poetry from Tarfia Faizullah follows up her 2014, Seam, a poetry collection that examines the brutality experienced by the Bengali people from the Pakistani army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Registers of Illuminated Villages maintains Faizullah’s ability to connect past to the present; the grief and pain experienced by her people and her experiences embodying this trauma growing up in Midland, Texas, but also of survival, courage, and celebration.

The ti
C. Varn
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Faizullah's Registers of Illuminated Villages masterfully contrasts Michigan and Iraq, Texas and Turkey--Faizullah seems at home with both personal and universal profundity, lyrically and vulnerability. Her willingness to dwell in trauma and historical atrocity pair them together in an experience humanizes her subjects. Definitely, a cross-cultural experience her title poem focuses the destruction 397 Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq, and then she is willing to weave in imaginary of the natural ...more
Steph Mecham
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Absolutely incredible.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
"...Speaking of today
I stepped on the cat's tail and sprang back
in apology, but when she didn't yelp and dash,

I remembered: there was no tail, there was no cat."
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I will be reading this again, along with Seam.

I love everything about her imagery, the way she uses insects and plants and water and fabric, all of these symbols that seem to mean something to me.

There's a lot of this that I don't quite understand, but I'm excited to get to experience these poems and learn from them again.

I did feel some of the poems were a bit basic and could have packed more punch if they were presented differently, but overall I enjoyed it so much.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Seam is one of my all-time favorite collections of poetry. There’s always a fear that the next one can’t compare to the one that stole your heart and made you want to be a better writer. But Faizullah doesn’t disappoint. This is a gorgeous collection. I swooned.
Erica Wright
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most anticipated collections of 2018—and rightly so. Bold and precise. These poems stare violence right in the face, and they never blink.

Postcard review:
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Faizullah grew up in Texas and now teaches writing at a Michigan university. Her family is originally from Bangladesh. She lost a young sister at some point in their childhood and this is included in several poems of loss that are very poignant.

The title refers to villages in Northern Iraq that were completely obliterated with every male killed, leaving behind devastated females to try and survive in disaster zones. Faizullah humanizes what otherwise becomes just a statistic in a rec
Andy Oram
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
The writing in this book is mostly luminescent, sometimes deliberately sparring or jarring, but always sure-footed. Faizullah manages to set a pace resembling everyday spoken language, but with room for flights of fantasy ("I wanted to be a reckoning, to tornado into each day's hard hands"). One has to accept her obsessive concern with a sister who died at age seven--one of her poems is even titled "You Ask Me Why Write about It Again." She also spends a lot of time on the terrible accident in w ...more
Jared Levine
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Damn! Tarfia Faizullah goes IN in some of these poems. Hey, that poem Self-Portrait as Mango, and that other one, Djinn in Need of a Bitch are two of my favorite poems from this year! *gush gush*

I was impressed by the overall structure of the book—punctuated into sections with different Registers and Self-Portraits. It’s clear that Tarfia has an incredible grasp on form, and employs it differently to achieve different contextualization (ie: memory as vivid and living, vs memory as di
Patti K
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is the author's second book published this year from Gray Wolf Press.
She is a Bangladeshi American poet and teacher who was born in Brooklyn
and grew up in Midland, Texas. Her work focuses on all the split worlds
she has inherited with its loss, grief, and violence. Her younger sister and her
were in an accident when young and her sister was killed, while she sustained
a grievous injury. Faizullah is also intent on trying to understand the land of
her ancestor
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot of Register is potent, original, compelling, and complex. The imagery and verbs are so specific, lush, unique.... And the structure of the collection, with the veiled section and the secret poem at the end, are fantastic. However, there were also several poems that seemed a bit flat—like they operated primarily on one level, or like they were poems she needed to write for herself (which is totally valid) rather than for publication.

It must have been difficult to write a collect
Courtney LeBlanc
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked, but didn't love this book - I found it easy to put down and walk away from which meant I could easily read a poem or two at a time, but never felt myself pulled so deeply into the poems that I simply had to keep reading.

My favorite poem in the collection was Self-Portrait as Slinky: "It's true I wanted / to be beautiful before / authentic. Say the word / exotic. Say minority -" This poem was done so well and so creatively I read it twice.

I also appreciated the voice she gave to Bengal
Keith Taylor
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am probably too intent on calling Faizullah a "documentary poet," because of the accomplishment of her first book, "Seam." But I think she has added something interesting to the possibilities of our poetry, and this book expands on that even as it reclaims some of the usual lyric positions. Here's a few words I wrote on it in my Ann Arbor Observer column
There is something very distinct and inviting in Faizullah's poetry and in its tone that I cannot place my finger on it still. It takes you on a journey through time and the self, personal and familiar at the same time. I haven't felt so overpowered by poetry in a while and Faizullah's work does this superbly, stopping me in my tracks yet never losing interest or veering away from her captivating work.
Tarifa Faizullah's Registers of Illuminated Villages intertwines personal grief and identity with the violent politics of empire, twining loss with loss, illuminating, much like the register she describes, hidden and destroyed places we'd rather not see, forcing us to look straight on at the destruction when we might otherwise turn away. Raw, merciless, beautiful.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poetry Lovers
Tarfia is an outstanding writer/poet. She captures so many emotions in a single poem. Her diction is so strong. She writes on subjects of all matter. In this work, Tarfia truly gives us a piece of herself and shares herself with the world, upfront and center with no filter. This is truly a great read.
Ven Corbet
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Faizullah made me want to write poetry again. Her unflinching manner of addressing personal trauma, sorrow, anger, and more is just incredible. Her poems are a pleasure to read. This book is wonderfully put together. I read her work for a course of mine and suspect I'll be coming back to this book over and over.
Tomas  Bjornstad
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book of poetry I’ve read in quite some time. So powerful. 100 Bells and Before the Accident, and After are my favorites. I love the opening of Self-Portrait as Mango. Highly recommended!
Lexi Nylander
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"You bite your tongue after eating orange rubbed with chili before wishing for a kiss from the man whose questions unearth the softness in you. We share with each other the names of our dying. We buy oranges in cities."
Carla Sofia Sofia
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Such careful attention to detail. Faizullah has taught me new ways to break a line, to see a poem on the page. The blend of political history and personal history is gorgeously interwoven. So many of the poems literally made my jaw drop. Would give all the stars 💥
kat lesperance
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
probably the best poetry collection I have ever read
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Eye Level: Poems
  • Indecency
  • The Tradition
  • Not Here
  • Oceanic
  • The Carrying: Poems
  • Deaf Republic: Poems
  • If They Come for Us
  • Whereas
  • Soft Science
  • Lessons on Expulsion
  • The Twenty-Ninth Year
  • Bury It
  • American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
  • Magical Negro
  • Virgin
  • Look
  • Brute: Poems
See similar books…
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of Seam (SIU, 2014), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, New England Review, Washington Square, and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Project Award, a Ploughshares C ...more
“I am chosen, I prayed, I was born. I took a right, a left, and another left. I'm sometimes late, but I do love to run a palm all alone around the shining altar. I still believe I could be, like y'all said, anything I wanted.” 0 likes
“Yeah, I did that. Snuck off to unwrap my own morals: for a card to call a boy in another state who didn't want me, rings that gave my knuckles grass-colored scars, and a diary to carry my aches in.” 0 likes
More quotes…