Vahni Capildeo

Vahni Capildeo enjoys cross-genre and multilingual writing. She is concerned with themes of layered memory, landscape, and deep or oblique connection. Measures of Expatriation, her fifth book of poems, won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. Venus as a Bear is forthcoming in 2018. Her fourth pamphlet, Seas and Trees, appeared with IPSI (Canberra) in September 2017. She serves as judge for a number of poetry prizes. Capildeo’s collaborative performances have been inspired by Euripides, Shakespeare, and the revolutionary Guyanese poet Martin Carter, among others. Currently she is working on French and English material for the AHRC project ‘Expanded Translation’, and on further collaborative performances. Vahni is the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds.

Photo: Hayley Madden


Who Goes There? »

A creative writing workshop about ‘voice’ in poetry with Vahni Capildeo

Sat 10 March | 10:30 - 12:30 | £7.00 | Public Library, Church Square, Meeting Room

Poetry Cafe: Festival Plenary »

Help us to wrap up StAnza 2018

Sun 11 March | 20:00 - 21:30 | £5.00/£4.00 | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre



it                                         neat
filtered                    as
in                                        guilt

folds unflying           meek & mild
mouthful sundust              nice to crush

no less                                no
than one                           less than one
fingernail                           pinkie nail

no more                            no
than one                           more than one
lights as if                           nothing soft

one on                             one
on or                                 in
from the                           slow mo
floor                                  on the door

inoffensiveness might look
like this
they crawl                         mobled small

lightly landing           land as if
slightly reduced                 one moth sifr
sifr moths peel off each fixture

from                                    bulb
overhead                           fittings
set off
as if                                      settling
so what amounts chhah ocho

the ceiling                           drab
yields                                    bodies

they will not open their wings

between                             quinze
tiles                                       modest

why won’t they open their wings

are they feeding off the hair
of goats?

finally they pour from         walls
every crevice           being filled full
                                              of rock wool 

now irremovably stuff
of moth mothlife & mothdeath
the fabric of the building –

who only wanted to live

where                     it is warm


Vahni Capildeo

Forthcoming in Venus as a Bear (Carcanet, 2018)