I recently sat down with with the poet Tarfia Faizullah at Cafe 1923 in Hamtramck and interviewed her about her own work, about her sense of the Bangladeshi community in Hamtramck, and Organic Weapon Arts, an independent press she runs with Detroit native poet Jamaal May.
What makes a literary community? This question is one that has been posed to me many times over, and I have some difficulty answering it, to be honest. Part of this comes out of a certain squeamishness I have around the word community. It is a slippery word to me because of the way it’s used. There’s a sense in which it is used to mean a neighborhood, or a section of a neighborhood where people share similar cultural markers, and I find that much easier to parse than the more broad uses of the word i.e. “the black community”, “the LGBTQ community” etc.