We're delighted that the Poetry Book Society's Summer Selection
includes two Carcanet books - Venus as a Bear
by Vahni Capildeo
is a the Summer Choice, and All Under One Roof
by Evelyn Schlag
(translated by Karen Leeder
) is the Recommended Translation. 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.
In May Venus as a Bear
is The Telegraph's book of the month
- Tristram Fane Saunders writes that 'Venus as a Bear
is 100-plus pages of constant self-reinvention' - read the full piece here
. You can also read a recent review of the book by David Wheatley in The Guardian
, where he writes that '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.' Read the full review here