An Evening with Fatimah Asghar

On February 27th, 2019, students and community members gathered at the Stanford Humanities Center to welcome poet Fatimah Asghar. Asghar read from her new collection, “If They Come for Us” which Roxane Gay described as “An outstanding collection of poetry . . . wonderful play with form . . . 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. [I] will be thinking about these poems for a long time to come.”

A fragment from her titular poem, “If they come For Us”:

my people my people I can’t be lost
when I see you my compass
is brown & gold & blood
my compass a muslim teenager
snapback & high-tops gracing
the subway platform
mashallah I claim them all

my country is made
in my people’s image
if they come for you they
come for me too…

Following the readings, Asghar joined Interim Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts A-lan A. Holt in conversation. They discussed poetic craft, love, loss, and solidarity between people of color communities. They also discussed the ways that history informed Fatimah Asghar’s work, leading her to write and reflect on the ongoing affects partition has had on South Asian communities.