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Venus as a Bear
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 784105 54 9
Categories: 21st Century, Black and Asian, British, Caribbean, Latin American, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2018
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle), eBook (PDF)
Vahni Capildeo's new book lives with things - carefully, lovingly: with glass, with moss, with stone. Venus as a Bear places the non-human world at its centre, tenderly disclosing the ways in which it is alive. We have feelings for familiar or strange creatures, objects, or places, but where do these affinities come from? For Capildeo the answers formed at their own pace, while waiting for lambing at a friend's farm, on a tour with poets around the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, criss-crossing the British Isles with the `Out of Bounds' poetry project; or hearing of Africa and the Romans in Scotland, of Guyana and Shakespeare, while standing over-the-boots deep in a freezing sea off the coast of Wales. This book considers how things, as things, affect us, remaining mysterious while making themselves known.
Many of the poems in Venus as a Bear are short. Some consider art objects of various types and periods: an Italian bronze sculpture of a dog -cum-wolf, a Persian painting of a bulbul. Some of the poems are set in the natural world and respond to real places, objects, and people, as investigations, meditations, or dedications. At root the poems, like the worlds they touch on, respect the actual in all its volatile mystery.
Awards won by Vahni Capildeo Winner, 2018 Poetry Book Society Summer Choice (Venus as a Bear) Short-listed, 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize (Measures of Expatriation) Winner, 2016 Poetry Book Society Choice (Measures of Expatriation) Winner, 2016 Forward Prize for Best Collection
(Measures of Expatriation)
Praise for Vahni Capildeo 'This is a book to last, and one that I will keep reading. It is a collection in which new threads appear in every reading: a tapestry that refuses to be frozen.'
'This is a highly original collection in form and content, with blunted messages and sharp polished undertones. One to read slowly and savour.' Poetry Salzberg Review on Measures of Expatriation 'So much of the world has been rendered familiar by the industries of interpretation (including the literary) that it takes a genius to recover its real intransigence. It is like being brought up hard against an unmoveable rock amidst all the torrents of counterfeited poetry when you catch hold of any poem by Capildeo.'
Rod Mengham 'Vahni Capildeo's Measure of Expatriation is a work that amazes. We found a vertiginous excitement in the way in which the book grasps its subject: the sense of never quite being at home. This is poetry that transforms. When people in the future seek to know what it's like to live between places, traditions, habits and cultures, they will read this. Here is the language for what expatriation feels like.'
Malika Booker, Chair of the 2016 Forward Prize judging panel
'The writing is done from word to word, following images, sounds, movement and sense-associations relentlessly, shifting focus every few words, heading for an unforeseen ending.'
Peter Riley, Fortnightly Review
'Tumbling, polyglottal collection of poems and prose-poems, Measures of Expatriation, tells stories of exile and migration by turns playful and ferocious.'
Horatia Harrod, Financial Times
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