I read this on Thursday and really enjoyed it. Would recommend
I think this poem book is great to study not only for the range of formats - cross words, double layers, floor plans, and so many poetry varieties. This also has a very raw and genuine experience of having a Muslim background in America - a lot of emotions and troubles I would never experience on my own. I think this would take multiple reads or more of a analytical lens for me to take a real in depth take away, rather than just reading through on a surface level like I did.
This would be really interesting to study with a group of honors students or upperclassmen in the classroom.
This poetry collection is so striking and emotional. As with any collection there were some poems I liked more than others: I think my favourite was Kal, a reflection on the word that means both yesterday and tomorrow in Hindi and Urdu. Asghar uses this focus point to examine hope and grief, not only grieving the loss of her parents but the life she could have had with them. This collection is so accessible and elegant, full of poems about living in America as a Pakistani Muslim woman, family relationships, sexuality and the legacy of colonial and racial violence. Some of the last few poems didn't touch me as much as the others, but I'm excited to revisit it and get more out of it.
Soulful and heartfelt. This poetry collection deals with heartbreaking realities in delicate, sensory, and visceral ways. Simple, careful language paired with weighty, powerful subjects. Belonging, American culture, orphanhood, Partition violence, intergenerational trauma, bisexuality, religion, growing up. A bit of a life captured in a book of poetry. Absolutely recommend, very readable and moving.
A great collection that adds a perspective of India and Pakistan's partition in the 1940's and the afteraffect in the generations that followed. This explores the Idea of the author's life as disputed territory, as disputed as Jammu and Kashmir where her family is from.
Such a beautiful book of poetry. Everyone should read this.
I'm not every 100% clear how I should rate poetry. This was really good, and I would recommend it for sure. Lines like:
"...I live/ in country whose sun is war/ we keep rotating around its warmth/ our faces, sun-kissed, each & every morning."
The whole book never lets go of what violence and war are foundational to our society and our identity. Also:
"...I want to believe in rebirth// that what comes from death is life, but I have blood/ from someone's father's father on my hands/ & no memory of who died for me to be here."
I liked it.
Wow! Fatimah Asghar’s collection of poems If They Come for Us is truly breath taking. Spanning the years of coming-of-age as a Pakistani Muslim after 9/11 to the current day of Islamophobia. Asghar poetry examines the recurring nature of borders, when an invisible line is drawn, people are divided by varying ideologies, faiths, politics, global oppression and resistance. While reading this collecting I remembered a quote from Audre Lorde that pretty much sums up what this collection represents ….
“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.”- Audre Lorde
This is a must read for sure.
This book is full of amazing poems that will teach you what it means to be young, to be an orphan, to have family and to be separated from family by death. This is a wide-ranging collection of poems, from the serious and political, such as the series of poems about the partition of India and Pakistan, which had an indelible impact on both world history and Asghar's family, to irreverent, personal poems like "Look, I'm Not Good at Eating Chicken." Asghar experiments with form and structure in fresh, modern ways, including visual elements in poems like "From" and "Script for Child Services: a Floor Plan." And always, always there is that indescribable element I can only call heart.
My favorite poem here is "A Starless Sky Is a Joy Too," which comes in waves of loss and re-connection while re-shaping ideas of what family means and how loss shapes a child. It ends with bittersweet joy, something I want to always hold on to.