Tarfia was born in 1980 in Brooklyn, NY and raised in west Texas. She is the author of Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf 2018) and Seam (SIU 2014), winner of a GLCA New Writers’ Award, a Binghamton University Milton Kessler First Book Award, a VIDA Book of the Year Award, a Drake University Emerging Writer Award, and other honors. Tarfia’s poems have been translated into Persian, Chinese, and Bengali, and appear in periodicals such as POEM, Poetry Magazine, Poetry Daily, Oxford American, Ploughshares, jubilat, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. Poems have also been anthologized in Best New Poets 2013 (Meridian), The Book of Scented Things (Rose O’Neill Literary House Press), Please Excuse this Poem: 100 Poems for the Next Generation (Viking/Penguin), and Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry (University of Southern Carolina Press).
Her other honors include three Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, as well as scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, Bread Loaf, Kenyon Review, Sewanee, and Vermont Studio Center. In 2016, she was recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change. Tarfia has collaborated with photographer Elizabeth Herman, emcee and producer Brooklyn Shanti, and composer Jacob Cooper, and has served as an editor for Blackbird, Asian American Literary Review, Four Way Review, Orison Books, and New England Review. She currently teaches in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan as the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor in Poetry.