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In Utter the reader is transported by image and sound into a universe where there appear to be no limits to what the imagination is capable, and Vahni Capildeo relishes the freedoms inherent in such a world.


Vahni Capildeo
Pan Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom
Date published
16 Sep 2013

Old boundaries come down: between the past and present, between human and animal, animate and inanimate, between the Caribbean and the global elsewhere, between the experienced world and the world of books. Rooted in an energetic sense of history, her vision remains scrupulously contemporary, wholly engaged in our present moment with poems triggered by the earthquake in Haiti, the politics of the globalized Antilles, and the islands’ industrial and agricultural contradictions. And even when the past is evoked, it remains wonderfully modern: dead soldiers welcoming a modern English apartment-dweller; Beowulf-era abandoned women pinned and pining on islands or beneath trees and recent migrants traveling their transatlantic journeys. And for all this, there live moments of community and tenderness, beauty and humour, all borne by her witty, prodigious intelligence. This is a book that rewards multiple readings, for at each reading some new untold treasure is sure to be discovered and rediscovered, making it a book as unexpected and as compendious as life.

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Vahni Capildeo

Scottish / Trinidadian poet Vahni has lived in the UK since 1991. They read Old Norse and translation theory at Oxford. Their published books of poetry include Measures of Expatriation (2016) which won the Forward Prize for Best Collection, and Utter (Peepal Tree, 2013). They have worked at the Oxford English Dictionary, for Commonwealth Writers, and in academia. They are the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds.

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