Reviewed by @mariaelenag96
“Poems of vulnerability, of anger, of love,” reflects guest reviewer @mariaelenag96 on Fatimah Asghar’s work. Asghar, a queer South Asian American Muslim writer and filmmaker, crosses the borders of countries, identities, communities, and histories in her beautiful and dynamic poems.
Asghar’s “Land Where My Father Died” sat with me long after I closed the collection because it reminds me of my childhood. In elementary school, along with the pledge of allegiance, my teachers made us recite the lyrics to the song “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” Our young voices chimed in unison as we sang the first verse: “My country, ’tis of thee, / Sweet land of liberty, / Of thee I sing; / Land where my fathers died, / Land of the pilgrims’ pride, / From ev’ry mountainside / Let freedom ring!” Asghar’s poem “Land Where My Father Died” hit the play button on this memory for me. Asghar ends the poem with, “. . . land that eliminates cities land that says homeland security land that built the first bomb & the last land that killed my father & then sent back his body land that made me orphan and of thee I sing.” Continue reading.
If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar
Published by Random House Publishing Group on August 7, 2018
Genres: Muslim, Poetry
Review Source: Brown Girl Bookshelf
Publisher's Synopsis: “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 TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY; FINALIST FOR THE LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD
an aunt teaches me how to tellan edible flowerfrom 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.