After Star Trek: Inner Light | Little Blue Marble – Climate Fiction for a Changing World

Signed the contract for my poem “After Star Trek: Inner Light.” It took three years for the poem to write itself in its current form, and now it’ll appear in the gorgeous Little Blue Marble, edited and published by Katrina Archer from Canada.

Like the title episode of Star Trek (which is certainly an all-time favorite), the poem deals with the efforts to restore and rebuild a planetary civilization after/near its collapse.

Twitter: @salik

By |2022-04-14T03:11:43+00:00April 14th, 2022|Poetry, Writing Life|0 Comments

Poetry: “A Personal Index of Our Times” (Strange Horizons, January 2022)

My poem “A Personal Index of Our Times” is up here on Strange Horizons (January 2022).

Salik Shah offers an abcedarium of the jinn for our global village in ‘A Personal Index of Our Times.'” — Strange Horizons 

Many thanks to Bogi Takács (eir bio reads: Lamda + Hugo winner) for a glowing review:

Vijayalakshmi Harish (bio: author of Strange Times and Co-Editor, Write in Power: An Anthology of the Personal & the Political (2021)) writes in a private Twitter thread:

“‘A Personal Index of Our Times,’ by @salik, is an inventive poem, that uses both form and content, to challenge the reader, and invites us to look for meaning beyond the words, and in the spaces between them.”

You can read the poem here on Strange Horizons.

By |2022-01-18T05:13:11+00:00January 12th, 2022|Poetry, Writing Life|0 Comments

The City Was Missing

“The City Was Missing,” one of my city poems appear in the latest issue of Star*Line, edited by Vince Gotera, and published by SFPA: Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (America). I just received a contributor’s copy, and the cover illustration is gorgeous, also the poems!

The opening two lines of this poem will be featured in The Mumbai Collaborative Poetry Project (MCPP) — the first ever video poem themed on the city of Mumbai — curated by Vinita Agrawal. Twenty-five poets will be featured in the project, including Nabina Das and Priya Sarukkai Chabria.

Here are my notes for the poem from March 22, 2015:

“Two weeks after The New York Times asked PM Modi to speak about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities, he broke his dangerous silence. ‘My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly,’ he assured Christian leaders. The attack on a Navi Mumbai church this Saturday showed that it would take more than rhetoric from the iron man of secular India to protect its minorities. This poem is a warning against the departure of religious tolerance and cosmopolitan spirit from Mumbai, formerly Bombay. (The city’s name was officially changed to Mumbai at the behest of a local Hindu-nationalist party because Bombay sounded so British.) Ultimately, it is about our personal relationships with cities we come to associate ourselves with.”

“The City Was Missing” first appeared in my poetry collection Khas Pidgin (Amazon, Barnes & Noble & iBooks). If you haven’t purchased or read it already and would like to receive a review copy, let me know. Happy reading! ???

By |2018-02-22T04:46:31+00:00February 22nd, 2018|Poetry, Writing Life|0 Comments

The Indian Experience: Three Poems

Three of my poems “At Rajiv Chowk Metro Station,” “Khas Pidgin” and “Foreign Tongue” appear in the latest Sage issue of Coldnoon, an international journal of travel writing & traveling cultures. These poems are part of my debut collection, Khas Pidgin.


I think I wrote the poem “Khas Pidgin” in 2009, and “Foreign Tongue” in 2014? I am certain that I wrote “At Rajiv Chowk Metro Station” in 2014, because I have these notes for the poem written for a poetry-challenged friend the same year:

While waiting for the train at Rajiv Chowk, I was reading Amit Chaudhuri’s essay titled “Beyond ‘Confidence’: Rushdie and the Creation Myth of Indian writing in English” from his collection Clearing House.

He writes that there was Indian writing in English before Rushdie, a fact that the arriviste India seems to have forgotten. He concludes:

That’s why Indian writing, in the last one hundred and fifty years, represents not so much a one-dimensional struggle for, or embodiment, power, as a many-sided cosmopolitan. It isn’t enough, today, to celebrate Indian writing’s ‘success,’ after having identified what its marks of success are (as if the whole tradition must only, and constantly, be thought of as an arriviste would be); one needs to engage with its long, subterranean history (as hard-earned as political freedom itself) of curiosity and openness.

When I closed the book and lifted my eyes, they caught a brief but warm reflection of a face on the glass door of the metro. I thought it was mine, but I can’t be certain now.

The Indian writing in English is a blob and its seeming triumph, perhaps a brief rupture in what the western critics (dust and chatter) consider their canon (text).

And Indian writers (brown light) writing in English can’t be blamed for not knowing exactly who they are writing for (and the question is irrelevant, Chauduri argues)—they are faceless dots in the literary world, the mirror of their times.


By |2018-02-01T22:01:15+00:00January 2nd, 2018|Poetry|0 Comments


Manokamana – Poetry on Film Series #4
Title: Report, Length: 45 seconds
Language: Nepali, Subtitles: English, Nepali

I don’t remember exactly when I wrote this short poem. “Report” is about the relationship we have as poets and artists with the country we choose to take refuge in, build a home, serve. It’s about the desire to see peace and prosperity flourish in the lands we traverse, be it our own or foreign. It’s about the collective failure of a people, a nation, which has become a Salusa Secundus of the modern world. (more…)

By |2017-04-18T12:01:32+00:00April 18th, 2017|Film, Poetry|0 Comments

Instructions for Astronauts

Become a space traveler, star trekker and adventurer for a few minutes!

“Instructions for Astronauts” appears in April 2017 issue of Mithila Review, an international science fiction and fantasy magazine. Written by Michael Janairo in nine parts, it’s about our destiny—humanity’s epic journey through time and space. What is this form? Is it art, poetry, film? You decide, please!

You can buy Mithila Review‘s April issue from Amazon or Weightless Books.

To support Mithila Review, please consider becoming a patron/subscriber via Patreon.

Donate via Paypal:

Your likes and comments on Youtube, retweets and shares on Twitter and Facebook will help us find new readers and patrons for Mithila Review:

Counting on your support as always.


All footages are in public domain; to support my personal literary or cinematic projects, please subscribe to this channel and back me on Patreon:

Thank you!

By |2017-08-10T05:38:28+00:00April 17th, 2017|Mithila Review, Poetry, Video|0 Comments

Reading and Writing Long Poems

Once I get inside a long poem, said Ron Padgett, I never want to get out. That’s what happened to me when I started reading Anne Carson’s ‘The Glass Essay‘ on her birthday, earlier this week. I didn’t know the poem would be 7877 words long, which turned out to be a good thing.

I tend to start but never finish long poems: they are intimidating. Carson’s novel-in-verse ‘Autobiography of Red’ served as a model for Indrapramit Das’s debut novel. My review of ‘The Devourers’ is forthcoming on Strange Horizons, but I’m yet to complete the Autobiography.

This time I read the first sections of ‘The Glass Essay’ aloud, walking, and then grabbed a chair, sat down to finish it quietly. I haven’t been able to get out of the long poem yet; it has stayed with me like a good story. ‘The Glass Essay’ is in fact a long story, or stories, which made me curious about the scale and ambition of a long poet. Why write a long poem? What are the pleasures and challenges of writing longer poems?

Anne Waldman, Toi Derricotte, and Ron Padgett have answered these questions and some more in this excellent series hosted by The Academy of American Poets:

“If you haven’t written a long poem, give it a shot. It’s like going to the moon.”

By |2016-05-21T13:59:02+00:00June 25th, 2015|Poetry|Comments Off on Reading and Writing Long Poems
Go to Top