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If They Come for Us

Poems
Narrated by: Fatimah Asghar
Length: 1 hr and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)
Regular price: $21.00
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Publisher's Summary

“A debut poetry collection showcasing both a fierce and tender new voice.” (Booklist)

“Elegant and playful...The poet invents new forms and updates classic ones.” (Elle)

“[Fatimah] Asghar interrogates divisions along lines of nationality, age, and gender, illuminating the forces by which identity is fixed or flexible.” (The New Yorker)

Named one of the top 10 books of the year by the New York Public Library.

An aunt teaches me how to tell an edible flower from a poisonous one. Just in case, I hear her say, just in case.

From a co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls comes an imaginative, soulful debut poetry that collection captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America. 

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.

Praise for If They Come for Us

“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)

“Taut lines, vivid language, and searing images range cover to cover.... Inventive, sad, gripping, and beautiful.” (Library Journal, starred review)

©2018 Fatimah Asghar (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“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) 

“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)  

“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)

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Do Believe the Hype

Poetry is having a moment, if you believe all the buzz in the book world. I approached this gorgeous collection (just look at that cover!) as a bit of a skeptic, more out of professional curiosity than as someone who actually expected to enjoy it. Fatimah Asghar has totally surprised me by sweeping me off my feet with her exquisite poems about pain, sweetness, and looking for somewhere--anywhere--to belong as a young Pakistani Muslim woman in America. As put by another writer I love, Kiese Laymon, we hardly even deserve poems this good (but we need them). In short: I guess I can get on board with this poetry thing, and and think my new morning ritual includes listening to 10 minutes of poetry on my way to work.

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Mouthful of Magic

This is a perfect book for minority females to read as it empathizes the understanding of feeling like an outsider.