Spring 2023 Poetry Preview: archipelago by Laila Malik | Book*hug Press

Spring 2023 Poetry Preview: archipelago by Laila Malik

Next up in our Spring 2023 Preview Series comes archipelago, Laila Malik’s lyrical debut poetry collection, which 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.

“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,” writes Nasser Hussain, author of SKY WRI TEI NGS. 

We are delighted to share an excerpt below! This highly-anticipated debut will be released on April 6, 2023, and is available now for pre-order from our online shop or from your local independent bookstore.

archipelago by Laila Malik

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 2CanthiusThe New QuarterlyRicepaperQwertyRoom, SukoonThe 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 debut poetry collection.

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