"An outstanding collection of poetry . . . wonderful play with form . . . These poems cover so much--identity, loss, brown girlhood, the complicated bonds of family, what home is when home is torn apart. Much to admire here. [I] will be thinking about these poems for a long time to come."--Roxane Gay
"[Fatimah] Asghar presents a debut poetry collection showcasing both a fierce and tender new voice. . . . Through simultaneously lyrical and frank poems like 'Kal, ' 'Ghareeb, ' and 'Halal, ' Asghar allows poignant contradictions to rise to the surface."--Booklist
"In forms both traditional . . . and unorthodox . . . Asghar interrogates divisions along lines of nationality, age, and gender, illuminating the forces by which identity is fixed or flexible. Most vivid and revelatory are pieces such as 'Boy, ' whose perspicacious turns and irreverent idiom conjure the rich, jagged textures of a childhood shadowed by loss."--The New Yorker
"This summer, [Asghar's] debut poetry collection cemented her status as one of the city's greatest present-day poets. . . . A stunning work of art that tackles place, race, sexuality and violence. These poems--both personal and historical, both celebratory and aggrieved--are unquestionably powerful in a way that would doubtless make both Gwendolyn Brooks and Harriet Monroe proud."--Chicago Review of Books
"If They Come for Us
is a searing search for self."--Electric Literature
"If They Come for Us
is a remarkable debut collection, and Asghar's poetic voice strikes a singular note in several places. Not one of the 44 poems in it feels superfluous. Asghar may unapologetically rip the reader's heart open, but she also sutures it with the utmost tenderness and care."--Live Mint
"Every age has its poets who spring-load every line with the personal and political so that you know what it was to be fully alive in that time and place--or torn from it. Asghar provides this anguished specificity in her debut poetry collection, a meditation on identity, dislocation, and loss. . . . Taut lines, vivid language, and searing images range cover to cover. . . . Inventive, sad, gripping, and beautiful."--Library Journal (starred review)
"In this awe-inspiring debut, Asghar, writer of the Emmy-nominated web series 'Brown Girls, ' explores the painful, sometimes psychologically debilitating journey of establishing her identity as a queer brown woman within the confines of white America. . . . Honest, personal, and intimate without being insular or myopic, Asghar's collection reveals a sense of strength and hope found in identity and cultural history.'"--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
'Fatimah Asghar writes my heart' Riz Ahmed
'Fatimah Asghar's debut collection brought me to tears many times over. It is urgent, compelling and filled with fragments of history that have changed the face of the world. Its exploration of queerness, grief, Muslim identity, partition and being a woman of colour in a white supremacist world make this the most essential collection of poems you'll read this year' Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant, author of The One Who Wrote Destiny
Poet and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls captures her experience as a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America, while exploring identity, violence, and healing.
an aunt teaches me how to tell
an edible flower
from a poisonous one.
just in case, I hear her say, just in case.
Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without the guidance of a mother or father. These poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while also exploring the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships. In experimental forms and language both lyrical and raw, Asghar seamlessly braids together marginalized people's histories with her own understanding of identity, place, and belonging.
'A debut poetry collection showcasing both a fierce and tender new voice' Booklist