Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Faisal Mohyuddin  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: , in

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Illinois Connection

Mohyuddin lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Faisal Mohyuddin is a writer, artist, and educator. He is the author of "The Displaced Children of Displaced Children", winner of the 2017 Sexton Prize, and the chapbook, "The Riddle of Longing". The recipient of Prairie Schooner's Edward Stanley Award and a Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, his work appears in the Missouri Review, Narrative, Crab Orchard Review, Poet Lore, RHINO, Tinderbox, Chicago Quarterly Review, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere. An alumnus of the U.S. Department of State's Teachers for Global Classrooms program, Faisal is a graduate of Carleton College, Northwestern University, and Columbia College Chicago.

He teaches English at Highland Park High School in Illinois and, since 2003, has served as an educator adviser to Narrative 4, the global not-for-profit dedicated to empathy-building and barrier-breaking through the exchange of stories. He is an alumnus of the U.S. Department of State's Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) Program; as part of this global education fellowship, Faisal traveled to and studied in Senegal in April 2016. He has been recognized for innovative teaching by Microsoft and has twice been a National Endowment for the Humanities summer teaching fellow.

As a visual artist, Faisal regularly showcases his work in the Chicago area, including in the recent Ta'weez Project No. 1, an exhibition with fellow artists Zafar Malik and Sadia Uqaili.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Displaced Children Of Displaced Children
ISBN: 1912477068

Eyewear Publishing. 2018

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


  • 2017 Sexton Prize, 2018 Summer Recommendation by the Poetry Book Society, The Displaced Children of Displaced Children

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes.