The Displaced Children Of Displaced Children

The Displaced Children Of Displaced Children

The Displaced Children Of Displaced Children

The Displaced Children Of Displaced Children



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Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Moving through past, present and future, this is a family history that journeys between America, Pakistan, modern Europe and even into space. Faisal Mohyuddin delves into the past of his parents and their neighbours in Pakistan and India in a self-consciously impossible attempt to find some way of belonging to a place that is lost. Moving from elegant ghazals of lament to stuttering, disjointed phrases of yearning, Mohyuddin portrays with restrained emotion the complexities of what it is to be displaced, geographically, spiritually, psychologically. With moments of sorrow interspersed with unsettling humour, deep familial love and celebrations of beauty, it is a story recognizable to any who have felt displaced in a new world. If the personal is political, then this is truly poetry for our times.

"THE DISPLACED CHILDREN OF DISPLACED CHILDREN demands your attention from its title, which speaks directly to a specific immigrant reflexivity, the way the seam of placelessness both separates and connects generations. In one poem the speaker 'forgets the Urdu / word for loneliness, forgets the Punjabi word for / loneliness, forgets the English word for loneliness.' In another, he finds himself 'holding two large rocks, // looking for something else / sacred to smash open.' These aren't hopeless poems, but they have known hopelessness. What a marvel it is then, this work (and it is work) to turn back toward joy, to create joy despite (or to spite) those forces that would conspire against it. Here, starlight travels centuries just to dazzle us. The son of a father becomes the father of a son. Eternity exists only in mirrors, the book says, then demonstrates. I am such an eager student of this book, this poet, and this light."—Kaveh Akbar

"Faisal Mohyuddin's debut collection speaks to the desire to forge a wholeness in a world that seems, too often, to be splitting at the seams. Written with an abiding sense of empathy, and charged with an unmistakable longing, these poems dissolve the boundaries between historical record, memory, and the imagination. Mohyuddin memorialises the suffering of the displaced, while at the same time transforming grief into song, heartache into story, and hunger into wisdom. This collection wrung out my tired heart."—Colum McCann

"In these poems, Faisal Mohyuddin assembles a lyrical narrative using historical fact and ethereal longing as material a longing that sprouts from, or settles into, the unlikeliest crevices of the historical-personal. For every gash on the map of partition, there is a gap closing between ceramic tiles affixed on the floor by a mother as she speaks of staying close; for every good king, there is an assassin by the same name; for every assassin, a poet; and for every loss, a legend. What I admire the most in this work is how it confronts and diminishes hubris and elevates the quality of desire to echo the idiom of the mystic 'a longing with an energy and weight all its own, a longing that resides in song or sigh, in prayer or embrace, in caw / or coo.'"—Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781912477067
Publisher: Continental Sales, Inc.
Publication date: 04/02/2018
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Faisal Mohyuddin, a child of immigrants from Pakistan, is the author of the chapbook The Riddle of Longing (Backbone Press, 2017). He is the recipient of the 2014 Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner and a 2017 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award. A graduate of Carleton College, Northwestern University, and Columbia College Chicago, he is also an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State's Teachers for Global Classrooms program. He teaches English at Highland Park High School in Illinois, serves as an educator adviser to the global not- for-profit Narrative 4, and lives with his wife and son in Chicago. THE DISPLACED CHILDREN OF DISPLACED CHILDREN is his debut full-length collection.

Table of Contents

The Opening 10


Ghazal for the Diaspora 14

Of the Punjab 15

Partition, and Then 17

Pakistan, Fatherless 18

Song 19

The Gift 20

My Mother's Darkness 22

Faisalabad 25

Bhagat Singh 31

Prayer 33

Ayodhya 34


The Faces of the Holy 42

Denaturalization: An Elegy for Mr Vaishno Das Bagai, an American 43

In Defense of Monsters 58

Advice to Religious Fanatics 61


Whenever He Teaches Hamlet 64

Being in Touch 67

The Salvation of Aurella Aurita 69

Log Dog: Very Afraid, Do Not Chase 70

Remembering Stella and Lily, Who Died on the Same Day 71

On the Morning of November 9, 2016, I Had an Entire Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast 72

Afterwards 73

The Forgotten Banana 74

Lost Earring 75

What Awaits is Made More Luminous by the Blooming Light of Youth 76

Ella Fitzgerald, Entering Chicago by Train, Remembers Her Mother's Voice 77

Poems of Arab Andalusia 80


Migration Narrative 88

Autobiography 89

What the Wind Said to Me When I Awoke from another Nightmare in Which My Father Had Died, Alone 91

To be a Fisherman, or a Father, You Must 96

Zinnias. How. Foreverness 97

To a Son About to Give his Father a Kidney 98

The Breath Inside the Breath 103

The Wooden Balconies of Old Lahore 104

Archaeology 106

Blood Harmonies 108

The Tomorrows 109

The Riddle of Longing 110

Ghazal for the Lost 112

About the Author 114

A Closing: Song of Myself as a Tomorrow 116

Notes 120

Acknowledgments 123

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