archipelago by Laila Malik

archipelago by Laila Malik

Pre-order Now

Poetry
Publication Date: April 6, 2023
96 pages
5.75 x 8.75 inches
Trade paperback
ISBN 9781771668170

Trade Paperback
$20.00
(Pre-order)
SKU: N/A Categories: , , ,

The islands of an archipelago are isolated above sea level but attached underwater; connected yet separate. archipelago, the debut poetry collection from Laila Malik, traces fragments of family, becoming and unbecoming against the shifting shorelines of loss, multigenerational migration, and (un)belonging.

Malik’s lyrical poems intertwine histories of exile and ecological devastation. Beginning with a coming of age in the 80s and 90s between Canada, the Arabian Gulf, East Africa and Kashmir, they subvert conventions of lineage, instead drawing on the truths of inter-ethnic histories amidst sparse landscapes of deserts, oceans, and mountains. They question why the only certainties of “home” are urgency and impossibility.

At its core, archipelago is a letter to the daughters who come before and after, a quiet disclosure of barbed ancestral legacies that only come into focus through poetry.

Praise for archipelago:

“This is a carefully chosen title—what is an archipelago, if not the geographical expression of multiplicity? archipelago by Laila Malik is the poetic expression of the geographic, then—a host of voices, overlapping, harmonious, discordant, dark, and humorous in turns. Grief can make an island of anyone: these poems can bring you to new shores.” —Nasser Hussain, author of SKY WRI TEI NGS

“There is so much movement in archipelago, but the meditations on home vis-a-vis the Gulf are most exciting for their rarity—this may be the first full-length poetry collection in English to take the Gulf itself as its subject matter. The impulse to erase the place you are in because it is erasing you is too strong. Yet though they dwell on the discomfort, vulnerability and potential violence of not-belonging, these poems feel equally at home everywhere, moving very naturally and horizontally between parts of Canada, the Arabian Gulf, East Africa, and South Asia, and reminding us that migration and movement are written into the very histories of these regions.” —Noor Naga, author of If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English

“In Laila Malik’s archipelago, we face the future like we face the sea, or the desert: any great expanse we try to love, cross, or become. Malik’s vocabulary is a bridge—littered with secrets, inside jokes, careful references—that carries us over various landscapes, oceans, the wreckages of capitalism, colonialism and climate collapse. A play on words is a play on politics because ‘history is a weapon of mass destruction.’ Encyclopedic in its cataloguing of our failures, spellbinding in its refusal to give up or into hope, this debut collection is a map of our devastations and desperation in equal part. From the first poem ‘all your grandmothers have stopped cooking’ to the epilogue ‘irreconciliation,’ Malik deftly engages with the contemporary imaginary to unravel ‘treacherously translucent memory’ in the ‘nation of unanswerable questions.’ ‘Forever incanting’ across tense, like waves, this collection defies the sweeping tide of tragedy to attend to the molecular, the grains of rice, life, sand and story alike. Evolutionary and environmental, reverent and reverberating, with rhythm and with rhyme, Malik’s words bounce across the page and back into our ears and mouths. From ‘oceans of indifference’ to ‘coastlines [which] eat their feelings,’ archipelago stretches across the dirt-sure truth that ’embracing sand / becoming prayer’ is the key to turning ‘all this breaking / into something beautiful.'” —Sanna Wani, author of My Grief, the Sun

Laila Malik is a desisporic settler and writer living in Adobigok, traditional land of Indigenous communities that include the Anishinaabe, Seneca, Mohawk Haudenosaunee, and Wendat. Her work has been widely published in literary magazines and journals, including Contemporary Verse 2, Canthius, The New Quarterly, Ricepaper, Qwerty, Room, Sukoon, The Bangalore Review, and Archetype. Malik’s essays have been longlisted for four different creative nonfiction contests and she was a fellow at the Banff Centre for Creative Arts in 2021 for her novel in progress. archipelago is her first book.

Reviews

There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “archipelago by Laila Malik”

Your email address will not be published.