Streams that Lead Somewhere

Winner of the RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award, 2022
Winner of the Hamilton Literary Award, Poetry, 2023
Longlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, 2023

Fareh Malik’s debut collection aims to explore the intersection between mental illness and social racialization. The poet dives deep into his long history with Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination. The book focuses on perseverance and the silver lining that is ever on the horizon with the expectation that you can make it out of any trial or tribulation, if you just follow your dream to wherever it leads.


“Ignited by the word terrorist in the opening poem ‘Chai,’ this powerful collection boils with intensity. A raw and real portrait of what it’s like to feel othered and alienated by daily doses of hate, this work stands out for its tenderness and throat-grabbing use of imagery. Islamophobia is a landscape of quicksand skin, snatched hijabs, and bomber jackets that can’t be worn because they are called bomber jackets. Slurs, epithets and stereotypes, mistaken identity and gun violence woven across themes of friendship, kinship and ancestry, these poems employ a wide range of voices and tones to convey a nuanced spectrum of emotions and a laser sharp critique of Canada’s blatant and covert systemic racism. A tight collection, no soft landings.”
—Jury panel, 2022 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award

“Malik’s candid poems unflinchingly investigate what is most problematic and upsetting in society while insisting that joy exists under all conditions.”
Publishers Weekly

Streams That Lead Somewhere is a rich and generous consideration of place, of home, of pushing beyond survival and into a joyful thriving. Fareh Malik is a poet who builds upon what already exists, so thoughtfully, each poem is its own utopia I did not want to exit.”
—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

“Fareh Malik’s joyous, hopeful and poignant collection of poetry touches on topics ranging from love to drinking chai to Islamophobia. A truly heartwarming and eclectic collection.”
—Zarqa Nawaz, creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, author of Laughing All the Way to the Mosque and Jameela Green Ruins Everything

“Poems that make the political personal with ever expanding lyricism and grit. This is a collection as evocative and lingering as it is profound. An unforgettable debut.”
—Ausma Zehanat Khan, author of Blackwater Falls

“Softly defiant and sparkling with vulnerability, Malik’s collection approaches racism, othering and Islamophobia with literary and emotional rigour. Across varied forms and approaches, Malik’s poetic voice reverberates: ‘Trust me on this,’ he writes, and we do. These direct and unflinching poems will grip you.”
—Jaclyn Desforges, author of Danger Flower


Publication Date: August 2022

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-77415-076-4
Page size: 5.5″ x 8.25″
80 pages

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77415-077-1

Photo of Fareh Malik

Fareh Malik, from Hamilton, Ontario, is also a spoken-word artist. He is the winner of the 2022 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award, Hamilton Art’s Shirley Elford Prize, and Muslim Hands Canada’s 2020 Poetry Contest. In 2023, Streams that Lead Somewhere won the Hamilton Literary Award for Poetry, and was longlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Fareh was a Best of the Net finalist in 2021, and that same year a Garden Project recipient. His individual works have been published by literary magazines such as Waccamaw Journal, 86 Logic, Lucky Jefferson, Chitro, and Twyckenham Notes. In 2020 some of his work was on exhibit in the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. Fareh tells the stories of his struggle and of the community around him in the hope that others can find inspiration and companionship in it.