The poetry of Faisal Mohyuddin resounds with subtle harmonies of difference. It explores identity, culture, and memory, probing their sometimes-melodic, sometimes-dissonant, and always-complex exchange.
Mohyuddin is at once an American, a Muslim, a second-generation Pakistani, a Midwesterner, a writer, an observer, an educator, and an optimist. These many voices frequently intersect and, at times, conflict. The poet himself comes to appear as a microcosm of social and cultural fragmentation. His story of irresolution and pluralism is deeply intimate but also revelatory of our historical moment.
The poetic that emerges from such exploration reflects the disparate identities it contains. Echoes of great Sufi poets, such as Rumi, are set against canonical contemporary figures—Mary Oliver and Billy Collins principal among them. Perhaps most distinctively, Mohyuddin’s poems reveal the animating touch of Agha Shahid Ali, himself a Muslim, Indo-Pakistani American. In essence, this poetic is inseparable from the experience it seeks to document and understand. Though the poems presented in this Showcase participate in the innumerable reconstructed cultural memories that have come to populate our fractured age, they evince a style that is distinctly Mohyuddin.
In his own words:
“If I have one goal as a writer, then it is, in all its wordiness, this: that my readers come to more deeply understand, respect, and appreciate those who seem most unlike themselves. I believe that literature can lead people to be both more self-aware and more just. I hope that at some point in my life I am able to look back and say that my writing has succeeded in doing this for some people. As such, I continue to strive, as diligently as I can, to hone my craft and produce pieces that are worthy of an audience as awesome as you who read my Showcase now.”