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Vahni Capildeo

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  • Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo FRSL is a Trinidadian Scottish writer of poetry and non-fiction. Capildeo's eight books and eight pamphlets include Like a Tree, Walking (Carcanet, November 2021) and The Dusty Angel (Oystercatcher, 2021). Their interests include plurilingualism, traditional masquerade, and multidisciplinary collaboration. They are Writer in Residence and Professor at the University of York, a Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and an Honorary Student of Christ Church, Oxford.
    'A wonderful new collection from Capildeo, exploring through their own lens not just the innate fragmentary prism of nature but a wider context of realising and placing the self within.'

    Shehzar Doja, Gutter Magazine

    'Like A Tree, Walking is a warm and deeply wise collection, finding intimacy and strength in the most surprising places, and, like tree roots sharing nutrients and warnings underground, sustaining them in the toughest situations. Displaying an imaginative syntactical approach and a masterful application of form, Capildeo upholds their place as an essential poet of our time; a richly singular voice, tuning our focus to the life-sustaining riches of our world.'

    Isabelle Baafi, The Poetry Review

    'I would follow Vahni Capildeo's poetry to the ends of the Earth, I just think that they're amazing...I love this book very much.' 

    Jen Campbell 

    'Vahni Capildeo is an astonishingly prolific and inventive poet, and Like a Tree, Walking, showcases the full range of their imagination...Capildeo's touch is light, their meaning never forced, yet even their longer poems maintain a quick pace and a clear sense of rhythm...Much of the collection is imbued with this spirit of natural connection and wonder, and Capildeo's ability to read nature, and to identify its presence in the midst of human society, makes their latest collection a thought-provoking read.'

    Maggie Wang, Poetry School

     'Vahni Capildeo has always been a remarkable and singular poet, and Like a Tree, Walking is yet another triumph of their warm wit, direct vision, and almost spiritual connection to the page....The collection is welcoming, disarming, and - as its blurb commands - 'defined by how it writes about love.' The poetry within is to be celebrated, read, and reread by poets and not-poets alike.'

    Beth Cochrane, The Skinny
    'Masterfully moves between so many forms that the brilliance for any voyager en-route is immediately palpable.'

    SPAM Zine Books of the Year 2019
     'Capildeo's intelligence, learning, wit, anger, skill and insight appear to be, on the evidence so far, limitless... This is poetry which is interested in looking for the truth with the only tool we have to do so, language... This is real - stop, slow down, read, think - poetry.'

    Wood Bee Poet
     'Industrious and prolific, Vahni Capildeo is a writer of apparently effortless variety in form and content...[They] belongs to no tribe or school or movement This may make [them] a "poet's poet", one for the cognoscenti; and yet, as Venus as a Bear demonstrates, [they] deserves the widest audience possible'
    Graeme Richardson, The TLS
      'Capildeo creates poems like spyglasses, like fully-equipped decks of observation, so that we might be present and entranced, hooked in the startling, surefooted immediacy of the worlds these poems invoke...It is through work such as this that we find ourselves revivified to a thousand electric possibilities'
    Shivanee Ramlochan, Carribbean Beat
    '...Among other things it is a bestiary from the poets travels: "a fade of rabbits", a bulls swaying haunches like "a big black valentine", The Magnificent Pigs of Thetford". Roll over, Ted Hughes.'

    Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Sunday Times
    'Capildeo remains a sui generis talent... Much like its predecessor, Venus as a Bear is 100-plus pages of constant self-reinvention'
    The Telegraph, Poetry Book of the Month May 2018
       '[They have] a kind of Ezra Pound-like status among the younger poets. An influential exponent of prose-poetry.'
    The Sunday Times, Twelve poets to read now
     'Vahni Capildeo's Measures 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
    Awards won by Vahni Capildeo Long-listed, 2022 The Jhalak Prize (Like a Tree, Walking) Winner, 2021 The Poetry Book Society Winter Choice
    (Like a Tree, Walking)
    Long-listed, 2020 The BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Literature (Skin Can Hold) Short-listed, 2018 The Forward Prize for Best Collection (Venus as a Bear) 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)
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