Forlorn Light: Virginia Woolf Found Poems was released by Shearsman Books at the beginning of August! In just the last six weeks, I've been blown away by the positive response to the collection. I'm so grateful to all my readers for spending time with Forlorn Light.
"The poems of Forlorn Light have the dazzle, intensity, and allure of sharp-edged things. The speed and propulsion of a scary ride at the amusement park, one you dismount wobbly-legged, exhilarated, and somehow more alive. Not light, but ‘incandescence,’ not fragrance but ‘storm tinted scents.’ These poems and their existential questions about what we desire and why will leave lasting afterimages in your mind, as if Islam has turned the words into gunpowder and strung them on the fuse of syntax. To say Nazifa is a master of the found poem would be inappropriately mild; she is the found poem’s diva." -Karen Holmberg
I started writing Woolf found poems way back in 2014, so finally having this book out in the world has been incredibly exciting. Poems from the collection began appearing in literary journals in 2016; I've been fortunate enough to publish Woolf found poems in 21 different literary journals over the course of these last five years.
"At the heart of Nazifa Islam’s compelling, unforgettable Forlorn Light is transformation: the poet finding her own remarkable words in Woolf’s, and the speaker shifting between emotional and physical states. Acknowledging 'I feel continually/remade into existence,' the speaker is characterized at one point as 'a ribbon of weed' and at others 'bone and paper and green hours,' 'scorched sea/foam and fire,' 'the flecked light/the dead see,' and 'a cricket dangling over teeth.' This shapeshifting restlessness propels the entire collection and ensures 'nothing is staid/nothing is settled.' For so many reasons, including its meticulous crafting and its devastating narrative arc, I admire Forlorn Light tremendously." -Jennifer Richter
You can find all of my Virginia Woolf found poems paired with the paragraphs I used to write them compiled in one very long webpage. I hope this look at the writing process behind the poems proves interesting as you flip through your copy of Forlorn Light!
"This is a book that, like Woolf’s novels, reveals new layers of meaning with each reading. You will go back to it again and again." -Kathy Davis