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Poetry Middle Eastern

Exit Wounds


by (author) Tariq Malik

Caitlin Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Middle Eastern
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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What does it mean to feel at home? In his groundbreaking debut collection Exit Wounds, Indo-Canadian poet Tariq Malik weaves together history and myth with his own family’s experiences of immigration to uncover what it truly means to belong. Whether he is recalling his childhood memories of the death of his father, imaging himself as a dead soldier lost in the sands of the Kuwaiti desert, or drawing upon his family’s experience of ‘three wars and migrations,’ Malik’s moving search for home will resonate with anyone who has ever felt at odds with a dominant monoculture.

Malik’s poetry combines traditional Punjabi mythology and First Nations’ symbolism with contemporary events that have shaped the lives of immigrants: 9/11, RCMP violence, war. The result is a defiant triumph of the plurality of minority experiences—a poetic chorus of immigrants and their descendants coming home to the truth and power of their many worlds.

About the author

Contributor Notes

For the past four decades, Vancouver-based author Tāriq Malik has worked across poetry, fiction, and visual arts, to distill immersive and compelling narratives that are always original and intriguing. He writes intensely in response to the world in flux around him and of his place in its shadows.

Born in Pakistani Punjab, he came reluctantly late to these shores. To get here, he first had to survive three wars, two migrations, and two decades of slaving in the Kuwaiti desert. He firmly believes his passion for distilling the alchemy of light/chroma/pixel, and his bouts of furious thinking about life and words in general, can all be happily and gainfully combined. He loves landscapes, bodies of living water large and small, and readers and listeners, and claims he writes so that he has something to read to his tribe on Open Mic Night at the local Poet's Corner or on the hallowed grounds of public libraries.

Editorial Reviews

“Reading Exit Wounds is an experience akin to traversing, wine in hand, landscapes of oceans and mountains, cities and towns—meeting people, sweating in the heat. The poet is a wanderer compelled by the longing for home, the passion to belong. To belong without question. Without proof. To exercise one’s own free will to arrive in a place or to leave as the heart desires. In this witnessing of a lifetime, the poet has wandered in and out of the tribulations of migration and refuge; now, he calmly but forcefully thumps the ground—to shake it a bit, yes, but also to know if it is now firm below his feet. Neither a lament for the loss of a homeland in the East nor an ode to the attainment of safe havens in the West, these poems are sign posts marking the persistent intersections of race, colonization, culture, and art in the experiential realms of human consciousness and emotion.”

—Fauzia Rafique, author of Skeena, The Adventures of SahebaN, and, co-founder of Surrey Muse

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