By (author): Laila Malik

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.


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 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. Her debut collection archipelago was included in CBC’s Spring 2023 Poetry Collections to Watch For.


In archipelago “home is constantly in a state of flux. It exists in a difficult relationship to physical place; the disconnect between generations makes it equally difficult for home to exist in metaphorical spaces.” —Quill and Quire

“In her debut collection, archipelago, Laila Malik considers un-belonging as a way of being.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“In her evocative debut collection, Laila Malik draws on memory, not only personal recollection but ancestral and cultural heritage.” —Toronto Star

“Malik’s poems carry the weight of unearthed treasures, ancient fragments of wisdom that researchers might devote their careers to piecing together. It is the deft juxtaposition between the ‘you’ and the ‘I’ and Malik’s culturally specific language that makes some poems, like ‘crooked elbows,’ so enthralling.” —Zoe Binder, ZYZZYVA


  • Pat Lowther Memorial Award 2024, Short-listed
  • Gerald Lampert Memorial Award 2024, Short-listed
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    86 Pages
    8.00in * 6.00in * .25in


    April 06, 2023


    Book*hug Press



    Book Subjects:

    POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Places



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