If They Come For Us (One World)
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.
an aunt teaches me how to tell
an edible flower
from a poisonous one.
just in case, I hear her say, just in case.
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
“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. [Fatimah] Asghar provides this anguished specificity in her debut poetry collection, a meditation on identity, dislocation, and loss. . . . Her story sweeps wide, becoming the history of India, Partition, genocidal hatred, and timeless misogyny. In the telling, she moves freely in form. . . .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: ‘our names this country’s wood/ for the fire my people my people/ the long years we’ve survived the long/ years yet to come.’”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, performer, educator, and writer. Her work has appeared in POETRY Magazine, BuzzFeed Reader, Academy of American Poets and many others. Her work has been featured on news outlets like PBS, NBC, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, and others. In 2011, she created REFLEKS, a Spoken Word Poetry group in Bosnia and Herzegovina while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-genocidal countries. She is a member of the Dark Noise collective and a Kundiman Fellow. Her chapbook After was released on Yes Yes Books fall 2015. She is the writer of Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights a friendship between women of color. In 2017 she was the recipient of a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and was on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Her debut collection of poems If They Come For Us is forthcoming on One World/ Random House August 2018.
Morgan Parker is the author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night. In 2019, a third collection of poems, Magical Negro, will be published by Tin House, and a young adult novel will be published with Delacorte Press. Her debut book of nonfiction will be released in 2020 by OneWorld. Parker is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. She is the creator and host of Reparations, Live! at the Ace Hotel. With Tommy Pico, she co-curates the Poets with Attitude (PWA) reading series, and with Angel Nafis, she is The Other Black Girl Collective. She lives in Los Angeles.
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Sam Bailey is a writer and director from Chicago, currently residing in Los Angeles. She is the creator of the Gotham-nominated web series: You're So Talented, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival as part of the N.O.W program. Sam is the director and co-creator of the web series Brown Girls. Sam was included on NewCity's Film 50 list. Her work has been reviewed and featured on platforms such as Elle, W Magazine, Fox News, and Out Magazine. As a creative non-fiction storyteller, she's worked on live lit stages across Chicago, including The Paper Machete, 2nd Story and Guts and Glory. Sam has recently signed on to direct East of La Brea, created by Sameer Gardezi (Modern Family) and produced by Paul Feig. Currently, Sam is working on developing Brown Girls into a 30 minute episodic.
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