Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
an admirable concern to keep lines open to writing in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and America.
Seamus Heaney

Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo

  • About
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo FRSL is a Trinidadian Scottish writer of poetry and non-fiction. Currently Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of York, their site-specific word and visual art includes responses to Cornwall’s former capital, Launceston, as the Causley Trust Poet in Residence (2022) and to the Ubatuba granite of the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds (2023), as well as to Scottish, Irish, and Caribbean built and natural environments. Their numerous books and pamphlets, from No Traveller Returns (Salt, 2003), Person Animal Figure (Landfill, 2005) onwards, are distinguished by deliberate engagement with independent and small presses. Their work has been recognized with the Cholmondeley Award (Society of Authors) and the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. Their publications include Like a Tree, Walking (Carcanet, 2021) (Poetry Book Society Choice), and A Happiness (Intergraphia, 2022). Their interests include silence, translation theory, medieval reworkings, plurilingualism, collaborative work, and traditional masquerade. Recent commissions include research-based Windrush poems for Poet in the City and for the Royal Society of Literature. Capildeo served as a judge for the Jhalak Prize (2023).
    'The bees, the bells, "vermiliion wormbodies," the invisible world and the constantly visible ocean, inside us, far from us, close to the poet's lines of descent; the timebox and its refrains, the motif of flight: everything comes together in this sparkling book of responses, of interlocutions, a poet situating a body of work amid other bodies and other poets, a poet making litanies, multiple linguistic registers, happen, making them fly, not from us but all around us. This exciting book could be Capildeo's finest yet: come for the querewolves. Stay for the panoply. For the capacity. For the face of the moon. For the plenty.'

    Stephanie Burt

    'Capildeo's ecologies of attention riddle landscape with prayer, essay, letter, song, a calendar of the elements, through an intricate variety of forms that blend and recompose these genres. The personal is earthly in these poems, placing tender calls beyond pronouns to a more-than-human community—addressing the politics of relationships through art that does not "mend with gold" but spells for us the "infinitely more/ precious, and perhaps survivable" commons of our vulnerability. Demonstrating in delightfully queer language games how we, including the tiger worms in the compost bin, are transformed through one another, Polkadot Wounds is not a book to be read only once but a breviary for safekeeping and recitation in difficult weather.'

    Jonathan Skinner

    'Anthony Vahni Capildeo is the best poet - the most creatively various, intellectually dextrous, uncomplacent and uncomplaisant - I know of in the UK. From book to book, and in a spirit of experimentation defiant of the demand to "find one's voice" (ugh) and stick to it, they have engaged histories, and literatures, from across the globe.'

    Vidyan Ravinthiran

    'Anthony Vahni Capildeo is among the most original and vital poets writing today. Capildeo's poetic language is its own creature, a bestiary, fierce and tender, generous and resilient. It's an ecology in which stone may run like honey, island history can pour down stairwells, and a mobile phone vibrates as archaically as a struck flint. In Polkadot Wounds, imagination makes space for some of the deepest and most questioning work of faith. The poems demonstrate again and again how attention can be an act of radical hospitality; reading them is to be reminded that this is not just an activity of writing, but a way of being-in-the-world.'

    Tiffany Atkinson

    '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

    Awards won by Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo Short-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)
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog Goddamned Selected Poems: Stanley Moss read more Diary of an Invasion: Oksana Maksymchuk read more The Strongbox: Sasha Dugdale read more Not a Moment Too Soon: Frank Kuppner read more Coco Island: Christine Roseeta Walker read more that which appears: Thomas A Clark read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2024 Carcanet Press Ltd