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Venus as a Bear

Vahni Capildeo

Venus as a Bear
RRP: GBP 7.99
New Release Available This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
eBook (EPUB)
ISBN: 978 1 784105 55 6
Categories: 21st Century, Black and Asian, British, Caribbean, Latin American, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2018
112 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle), eBook (PDF)
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • The Poetry Book Society Summer 2018 Choice
    Shortlisted for The 2018 Forward Prize for Best Collection


    Vahni Capildeo’s Venus as a Bear collects poems on animals, art, language, the sea, thinghood, metaphor, description, and dance. They tend toward, and tend to, the inanimate and non-human, tenderly disclosing their forms of sentience. We have feelings for creatures, objects and places, but where do these affinities come from? How do things, as things, affect us, remain mysterious while making themselves known?

    For Capildeo answers formed at their own pace, while waiting for lambing at a friend’s farm; exploring 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.

    Many of the poems respond to real places, objects and people, as investigations, meditations, or dedications. They dwell on bodies and dwell in the body, inviting ardent, open forms of reading, in the spirit of their composition.
    Vahni Capildeo’s multilingual, cross-genre writing is grounded in time experienced through place. Her DPhil in Old Norse literature and translation theory, her travels, and her Indian diaspora/Caribbean background deepen the voices in the landscapes that inspire her. Her poetry (six books and four pamphlets) includes Measures of Expatriation, awarded the ... read more
    Awards won by Vahni Capildeo 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)
    'It generates constant energy... The flurry of excitement, the sheer bounce of words on the line and off the page, captures at first the essence of affable, tail-wagging pet-dogginess and, later on, the dog's liberating, unleashed flight from domestic obedience.'
    Carol Rumens in The Guardian, on 'They (may forget (their names (if let out)))' from Venus as a Bear - poem of the week 21st May 2018

    'A bald enumeration of Capildeo's influences, subjects, travel destinations and poetic forms might give an impression of dizzying multifariousness.... But the essential remains the same throughout. Capildeo, it is only fair to acknowledge, is a demanding writer, someone who stretches the conventions of the lyric poem in unprecedented ways; but Venus as a Bear demands nothing from its readers that it does not also repay generously. She is, among much else, a direct and sensual poet, warmly intimate and very funny.'
    David Wheatley, The Guardian
    '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
    Praise for Vahni Capildeo
    'It generates constant energy... The flurry of excitement, the sheer bounce of words on the line and off the page, captures at first the essence of affable, tail-wagging pet-dogginess and, later on, the dog's liberating, unleashed flight from domestic obedience.'
    Carol Rumens in The Guardian, on 'They (may forget (their names (if let out)))' from Venus as a Bear - poem of the week 21st May 2018

    'A bald enumeration of Capildeo's influences, subjects, travel destinations and poetic forms might give an impression of dizzying multifariousness.... But the essential remains the same throughout. Capildeo, it is only fair to acknowledge, is a demanding writer, someone who stretches the conventions of the lyric poem in unprecedented ways; but Venus as a Bear demands nothing from its readers that it does not also repay generously. She is, among much else, a direct and sensual poet, warmly intimate and very funny.'
    David Wheatley, The Guardian
    '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
     '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.'
    Stand Magazine
     '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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