Photo Credit: John Joseph

Zilka Joseph

Current City, State, Country

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Mumbai, Maharshtra, India


Zilka Joseph was born in Mumbai, lived in Kolkata, and now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Her work is influenced by Indian and Western cultures, and her Bene Israel roots. She has been nominated for several awards, been featured on NPR/Michigan Radio, and podcasts like Rattlecast and Culturico. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Poetry Daily, Frontier Poetry, Kenyon Review Online, Michigan Quarterly Review, Rattle, Asia Literary Review, The Punch Magazine, Poetry at Sangam, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Review Americana, and in anthologies like 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium, Home: Michigan State University Libraries Short Edition, Kali Project, RESPECT: An Anthology of Detroit Music Poetry, Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English, and Converse: Contemporary Indian Poetry in English. Her chapbooks, Lands I Live In and What Dread, were nominated for PEN and Pushcart awards. Sharp Blue Search of Flame (Wayne State University Press) was a Foreword INDIES Award finalist. Her third chapbook Sparrows and Dust is a Notable Best Indie Award winner and a Notable Asian American Poetry Book. In Our Beautiful Bones, her newest book, is also a Foreword INDIES Award finalist, and has been nominated for PEN, Pushcart, Griffin and American Book awards. She received a Zell Fellowship, the Michael R. Gutterman Award for poetry, and the Elsie Choy Lee Scholarship from the University of Michigan. She teaches creative writing workshops, and is a freelance editor and manuscript advisor.

What is the relationship between Judaism and/or Jewish culture and your poetry?

I am Bene Israel and my childhood and upbringing in India is often reflected in my work.

Published Works

In Our Beautiful Bones (Mayapple Press, 2021)
Sparrows and Dust (chapbook; Ridgeway Press, 2021)
Sharp Blue Search of Flame (Wayne State University Press, 2016)
What Dread (chapbook; Finishing Line Press, 2011)
Lands I Live in (chapbook; Mayapple Press, 2007)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading


Loreto College, Calcutta University, B.A.
Loreto College, Calcutta University, B.Ed.
Jadavpur University, M.A.
University of Michigan, M.F.A

Subject Matter