Reviews for Crosslight for Youngbird (2018, Nightboat Books)

 “…this wildly associative debut from Wadud works as a lyrical introduction to the phenomenology of border-crossing… What keep the book from becoming a catalog of unremitting horror are Wadud’s capacious heart, inventive mind, and diasporic imagination…”

Publishers Weekly

Two complementary metaphors structure the sweep of the book, one spanning under and one soaring above each buoyant raft of text. Throughout these poems, an oceanic insistence underscores scenes of political and personal contingency: “The tides come and go and the doom and resolve each keep their own metronome.”

— Cam Scott, Full Stop

“It is with this growing awareness of our own complacency amid the normalization of state violence and terror that Asiya Wadud begins Crosslight for Youngbird; by re-orienting our moral compass and the language by which we articulate and conceptualize migration or how we fail to, Wadud becomes both archivist and poet, itinerant and cartographer, inhabiting migratory routes ("Fittja, Sweden"; "The Balkan route"; "Strait of Gibraltar") as well as sites of detainment ("Calais, onward"; "Keleti Station, Budapest") so as to show us our own subjective positions within this shared space we call our world.”

— Chris Campanioni, Brooklyn Rail

“Asiya Wadud’s debut collection, Crosslight for Youngbird, is searching, extroverted, and humane… her pity is the poet’s pity — trying to cup in her hands (to make cohere) the splintered pieces of an actual, human soul.”

— Austin Adams, Los Angeles Review of Books

“…Wadud summons the reader’s preconceived ideas about form and genre by attending to the work’s appearance on the printed page. In “home 16 ways”… the pristine prose paragraphs create a semblance of order, and artificial sense of unity, which the language itself interrogates and unravels.”

— Kristina Marie Darling, Kenyon Review

““Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer,” writes the philosopher Simone Weil in an essay from Gravity and Grace;[2]“Extreme attention is what constitutes the creative faculty in man and the only extreme attention is religious.” Wadud is a poet of this kind of prayer. Crosslight for Youngbird teaches an art of attention as supplication.”

— Rachael Guynn Wilson, Kenyon Review

“… There is no escaping the preserving salt, the amniotic fluid, the ocean water, and the treacherousness of traveling through these mediums, but travel we must, nonetheless. Drinking deeply from this sea may provide nourishment; traveling through it may deliver, (some, not all) to a home.”

— Dara Elerath, Tupelo Quarterly

“Doom and resolve each keep their own metronome,” she tells us. Wadud knows what James Baldwin knew, that, “A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist must know, and he must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.” Everything beats in this book — the hearts of the dead, of the merciless, the innocent; a measure of remembering and living and mourning and singing.”

— Kimberly Grey, On the Seawall