If They Come for Us

Poems
Trade Paperback

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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.

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.

Advance praise for If They Come for Us
 
If They Come for Us is a beautiful book of poems that, as powerfully and deeply as any book I’ve read in a good while, wonders about, explores, and laments our many inheritances of violence, which are also inheritances of sorrow, and the ways those inheritances reside in our bodies and imaginations. And yet, the wonder of this book is the way that throughout the anguish and sorrow and rage, despite it, there is tenderness. There is sweetness. There is care. This book reminds us: These, too, are our inheritances. These, too, are our heirlooms. These, too, we must pass along.”—Ross Gay, author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry
 
“Fatimah Asghar’s work isn’t simply some of the most innovative poetry I’ve read; page after page, the book weaves productive ambiguity, textured explorations of the body, and lyrical precision into a work that is somehow just as much a mammoth book of short stories, an experimental novel, and a soulful memoir. I’m not sure this nation is deserving of such a marvelous, sensual, and sensory book, but I know we needed this. We so needed this.”—Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Long Division
 
“In poems that are as historically aware as they are forward-thinking, Asghar reminds us with wit, wisdom, and compassion that a truly felt and thoughtfully written poem can be many things at once: a salve, an artifact, a puzzle, a flashlight in the face of imminent darkness, and even a whole home.”—Tarfia Faizullah, author of Registers of Illuminated Villages and Seam

Praise

If They Come for Us is a beautiful book of poems that, as powerfully and deeply as any book I’ve read in a good while, wonders about, explores, and laments our many inheritances of violence, which are also inheritances of sorrow, and the ways those inheritances reside in our bodies and imaginations. And yet, the wonder of this book is the way that throughout the anguish and sorrow and rage, despite it, there is tenderness. There is sweetness. There is care. This book reminds us: These, too, are our inheritances. These, too, are our heirlooms. These, too, we must pass along.”—Ross Gay, author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry
 
“Fatimah Asghar’s work isn’t simply some of the most innovative poetry I’ve read; page after page, the book weaves productive ambiguity, textured explorations of the body, and lyrical precision into a work that is somehow just as much a mammoth book of short stories, an experimental novel, and a soulful memoir. I’m not sure this nation is deserving of such a marvelous, sensual, and sensory book, but I know we needed this. We so needed this.”—Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Long Division
 
“In poems that are as historically aware as they are forward-thinking, Asghar reminds us with wit, wisdom, and compassion that a truly felt and thoughtfully written poem can be many things at once: a salve, an artifact, a puzzle, a flashlight in the face of imminent darkness, and even a whole home.”—Tarfia Faizullah, author of Registers of Illuminated Villages and Seam
 
“Part of the strength and vulnerability of this work is rooted in what I’m thinking of as a poetics of or. These poems bend time, encircle kin, invent new forms of saying. They laugh, lose, and lament, challenging language even as they are led by it. There is such fierce, resilient awe everywhere here. Such poems embolden me into love and dreaming and action.”—Aracelis Girmay, author of Kingdom Animalia and The Black Maria

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