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If They Come for Us

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  2,142 ratings  ·  351 reviews
Poet and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series "Brown Girls" captures the experience of being a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America, while exploring identity, violence, and healing.

In this powerful and imaginative debut poetry collection, Fatimah Asghar nakedly captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in America by braiding together
Paperback, 128 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by One World
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4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,142 ratings  ·  351 reviews

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Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an outstanding collection of poetry. Some wonderful play with form in many of the poems. Learned a lot about Partition. 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. Will be thinking about these poems for a long time to come.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, poetry, net-galley
The poetry in Fatimah Asghar's debut collection, If They Come for Us, alternates between addressing the autobiographical and the historical: Asghar writes raw short poems exploring the individual and collective meanings of topics such as trauma, loss, solidarity, racialized violence, sexuality, diaspora, and Pakistani identity. Many of the strongest poems in the collection deal with the poet's loss of her parents, the India-Pakistan Partition, and the intersection between personal and social his ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Poems about Partition and its lifelong effects on family and identity, growing up in America with brown skin, and more. Ashgar dedicates specific poems to Nikki Giovani, Danez Smith, and Safia Elhillo - I find her to be in good company with these poets. Highly recommended!

Until it comes out, you can see a bit of her approach and tone in a performance of Pluto Shits on the Universe.

The poet is the writer and co-creator of the web series Brown Girls, which I can also recommend.

Thanks to the publi
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Beautiful. Poignant. Raw. Mesmerizing. If They Come For Us is a stunningly powerful and at times heart-rending collection of poetry. Some of the poems are about the Partition of India and Pakistan, others are about what it is like to be a Pakastani-American Muslim orphaned and growing up in the USA. The poems are touching and imaginative, reaching deep inside of you, stirring you to tears. I highly recommend it.
Tori (InToriLex)
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Content Warning: Genocide, Rape, Domestic Abuse

Well written, hard hitting, these poems put me through a roller coaster of emotions.  The author explains how she has existed in a world pulled towards conflicting loyalties. Partition was the division of India into India and Pakistan, it caused at least 14 million to forcefully migrate to escape ethnic cleansings and retributive genocides. During this time 75,000 to 100,000 women were abducted and raped. The author explores the effects of Parti
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my reading goals this year is to read more poetry. And wow, this was a stunning collection with which to kick off my goal.

The poems took various forms and experimented in ways that were new to me. I started to dogear favorites (don't @ me) but found I was doing so to every other one. There's a lot here: identity, race, religion, feminism, body image, and more I'm sure I'm not even aware of.

As someone very new to poetry, it's hard for me to comment on much more than how beautiful I found i
Emm - One Thousand Years of Books
More poetry, reviews and others here on my blog.

Composed of raw emotion, memory and urgency, If They Come For Us examines the injustice of war and division. Bloodshed is something that shakes and dismantles the roots of generations, leaving scars on even those who only recall it faintly, or don’t recall it at all. The aftermath doesn’t fade easily – what is lost and the price of what is gained must never be forgotten.

Asghar speaks rich lyrics also on culture, sexuality, and the delicate, hapha
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this via #netgalley in exchange for my review. This is a good, sparely-written poetry collection reflecting on a variety of topics related to the author’s identity: the India/Pakistan partition and its effect on her family, being orphaned, being Muslim in the US after 9/11, and femininity. Some poems are direct and sometimes shocking, while others wistfully mourn the people from India/Pakistan, her youth and her family connections.
Gauraa  Shekhar
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
"you’re kashmiri until they burn your home. take your orchards. stake a different flag. until no one remembers the road that brings you back. you’re indian until they draw a border through punjab. until the british captains spit paki as they sip your chai, add so much foam you can’t taste home. you’re seraiki until your classmates ask what that is. then you’re indian again."

the traumas of the partition swirl and smolder in Asghar’s stunning collection, reminding us—lest we forget—it takes a lo
❈*ೃ maria ☽✩❁
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
“From the moment our babies are born are we meant to lower them into the ground? To dress them in white? They send flowers before guns, thorns plucked from stem. Every year I manage to live on this earth I collect more questions than answers.”
Mar 11, 2018 added it
RWLChallenge: A poetry collection written or edited by an LGBTQIA person of colour.

Full review forthcoming via Rebel Women Lit
Traci at The Stacks
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved these poems. Powerful. Smart. Funny. An exploration of the past and current moment. Asghar is bold and confident in her exploration of self and identity. Referential and based in story telling. Really great!
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Powerful poetry book filled with poems about growing up in America as an immigrant. I loved this book. The poems spoke to me. I connected with most of them, as I grew up as an immigrant daughter, but in Canada. I feel these type of poetry books are important and should be read. Bravo. I recommend
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a short collection of poetry about a young woman’s experience growing up as a Muslim and the challenges she faced growing up in America.
Adriana Martinez Figueroa
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5/5 Stars


Poet and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series "Brown Girls" captures the experience of being a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America, while exploring identity, violence, and healing.

In this powerful and imaginative debut poetry collection, Fatimah Asghar nakedly captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in America by braiding together personal and marginalized people's histories. After being orphaned as a young girl, Asghar grap
Katherine Mary
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fatimah Asghar's If They Come for Us is a raw, emotional, richly constructed poetic composition. Fatimah's moving and poignant poems bust open the hurt and scars left from the Partition of India. Fatimah offers her insight and experience of her ancestor's history, her lack of parental support/guidance, and questions of sexuality. Though at times uncomfortable, the reader connects to Fatimah's heart wrenching experiences of growing up with the scars of racial insensitivity, struggle and finding o ...more
Athena Lathos
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5*: In my (very humble and unstudied) opinion, the poets of Dark Noise are making some of the most beautiful poems in the world right now. I am grateful for their presence in the poetry community for many reasons.

Asghar is a brilliant poet, but the thing I love about reading her work is that the experience of reading it feels like you are talking to a really talented and emotionally intelligent friend. Not to roast anyone too hard, especially because I am an amateur poet/reader of poetry myse
Leah Rachel von Essen
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I think I believe in home, I just don’t know where to look.”—from “How We Left: Film Treatment”

If They Come For Us is a stunning collection of poetry from Fatimah Asghar that explores the coming-of-age of Asghar as a Muslim, Pakistani orphan in America. Asghar is both lost, untethered, struggling with a feeling of not-belonging whether in her homes or in a country where she must face both microaggressions and outright violence; and firmly rooted in a history of pain, in solidarity with those of
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am blown away by how much I enjoyed this! Her words are so powerful, heartfelt, and raw. The collection is both personal and historical. She explores Partition, race, religion, death, and being a Muslim/ Pakistani woman in Post 9/11 America. I don’t have the same background or experiences but I felt such a human connection and compassion. For all our differences, our hearts are the same.
Luke Gorham
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, poetry
Poetry so personal it is borderline memoir, threading diatribe poetics into those of confessionals, histories, and condemnations. Perfect fusion of rawness and refined lyricism, tightroping between abstraction and realism, thematically orbiting (and sometimes interweaving) issues of sexual and gender identity, western exceptionalism, American xenophobia, and the short-term memory of history. Loses a bit of steam as it goes on and starts stronger than it finishes (tightening up the collection a t ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read via audiobook

If They Come for Us is a stunning debut poetry collection centring around the partition of India and the author's experiences as a Muslim-Pakistani woman in America. Fatimah Asghar beautifully blends lyrical and raw, honest language to explore themes such as history, family, sexuality, identity, violence, culture and more. Asghar examines American culture and discusses how the partition of India and death of her parents has continued to effect her life and her sense of self a
Sasha Haasnoot
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I am so happy that I read this poetry collection. It is one that I will still think about a lot and sometimes take from my shelve to reread some poems again. I learned a lot about Partition, being Muslim in America, India and Pakistan. It is about finding your identity, sexuality, vulnerability and race. It is also about many facets of violence and how that is inherited across generations.
What I thought was really beautiful was that this book made me think about inheritances a lot. It made me t
Monica (Tomes Project)
from How We Left: Film Treatment

[Narrative Device: Flash Forward]
In America, they slaughtered a temple of Sikhs because they thought
them us. Here we all become towelheads, amorphous fears praying
to a brown god. Others that become others that look like others.
They don't know our history, its locked doors & heavy whispers.

in this poetry collection, Fatimah Asghar beautifully brings together stories of her own experiences as a Pakistani Muslim in America and the history of the partition, 9/11,
Ericka Clouther
There's a lot about the partition of India and Pakistan in this poetry collection, which is really interesting, but what resonated with me the most is Asghar's grief at losing her parents and her loneliness and feelings of otherness. Her poetry is brave and raw.
Megan O'Hara
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Need to read something about Partition so I can actually understand this.
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Very glad that I picked up this book. Never have I ever read something so powerful. Fatimah Asghar is my new favorite writer. Best little book I've read this year!
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, favorites
So grateful to be finally able to read this. Will be returning to this over and over again.
Warlou Joyce Antonio
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-read, poetry
It would be easier to say that ‘If They Come for Us’ is a collection about the immigrant experience – written by a person who had known the concept of conflict too early and who grew up in a land far from home. But that summary would not suffice to describe what these pages offer and what Asghar’s words capture.

Asghar’s poems are rooted in her Pakistani heritage and through them, she communicates to the reader her experiences as an orphan and Muslim Pakistani woman in America, as well as the re
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, the-pocs
Stop me from quoting this entire book, honestly. Everything about the Partition - it made me feel understood in a way that I don’t think has ever happened. At the very start, there’s a reminder for everyone that’s forgotten and for anyone that doesn’t know:
“At least 14 million people were forced into migration as they fled the ethnic cleansings and retributive genocides that consumed South Asia during the India/Pakistan Partition, which to led to India’s and East and West Pakistan’s independenc
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“Mashallah I claim them all
my country is made
in my people's image
if they come for you they
come for me too...
… I see you map
my sky the light your lantern long
ahead & I follow I follow”
“Everyone wants Kashmir but no one wants Kashmiris.
Aren't I a miracle? A seed that survived the slaughter & slaughters to come.
I think I believe in freedom I just don't know where it is.
I think I believe in home, I just don't know where to look.”
More quotes…