Fatimah Asghar


Fatimah Asghar is an artist who spans across different genres and themes. A poet, a fiction writer, and a filmmaker, Fatimah cares less about genre and instead prioritizes the story that needs to be told and finds the best vehicle to tell it. Play is critical in the development of their work, as is intentionally building relationship and authentic collaboration. Their first book of poems If They Come For Us explored themes of orphaning, family, Partition, borders, shifting identity, and violence. Along with Safia Elhillo, they co-edited Halal If You Hear Me, an anthology for Muslim people who are also women, trans, gender non-conforming, and/ or queer. The anthology was built around the radical idea that there are as many ways of being Muslim as there are Muslim people in the world. They also wrote and co-created Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights friendship among women of color. Their debut lyrical novel, When We Were Sisters, explores sisterhood, orphaning, and alternate family building, and is forthcoming October 2022. While these projects approach storytelling through various mediums and tones, at the heart of all of them is Fatimah’s unique voice, insistence on creating alternate possibilities of identity, relationships and humanity then the ones that society would box us into, and a deep play and joy embedded in the craft. Source


Meaning: stranger, one without a home and thus, deserving of pity. Also: westerner.


on visits back your english sticks to everything.

your own auntie calls you ghareeb. stranger


in your family’s house, you: runaway dog turned wild.

like your little cousin who pops gum & wears bras now: a stranger.


black grass swaying in the field, glint of gold in her nose.

they say it so often, it must be your name now, stranger.


when’d the west set in your bones? you survive

each winter like you were made for snow, a stranger


to each ancestor who lights your past. your parents,

dead, never taught you their language—stranger


to everything that tries to bring you home. a silver sun

& blood-soaked leaves, everything a little strange


& a little the same—like the hump of a deer on the busy

road, headless, chest propped up as the cars fly by. strange


no one bats an eye. you should pray but you’re a bad muslim

everyone says. the Qur’an you memorized turns stranger


in your mouth, sand that quakes your throat. gag & ache

even your body wants nothing to do with you, stranger.


how many poems must you write to convince yourself

you have a family? everyone leaves & you end up the stranger.






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Intersectionality & Culture

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme


a short, lyrical poem that have five to 15 couplets, each one ending with the same word. Ghazals were originally used by Persian poets in Arabic verse.


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”