Carcanet online book launch: Like a Tree, Walking by Vahni Capildeo

Part of our Literature guide

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo
Poet Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo.

Like a Tree, Walking by Vahni Capildeo: Online Book Launch, 1 December 2021, from £2.00 - Book now

You don’t even need to step out into the cold, dark evening to celebrate the launch of Vahni Capildeo’s latest poetry collection, Like A Tree, Walking, as Manchester’s Carcanet Press are very kindly streaming the event live to a small screen near you. We’ve seen Vahni Capildeo read IRL here in Manchester in days of yore, and they are definitely worth checking out again, with a mesmeric quality to their voice, not to mention the rhythmic patterns of their poems.

Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo FRSL is a Trinidadian Scottish writer of poetry and non-fiction, Writer in Residence and Professor at the University of York, a Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and an Honorary Student of Christ Church, Oxford. Their eight books and eight pamphlets include 2020’s Odyssey Calling (Sad Press) and The Dusty Angel, which came out with Oystercatcher Press earlier this year. The 2021 Poetry Book Society Winter Choice, Like A Tree, Walking is Vahni’s fourth collection with Carcanet, following 2019’s Skin Can Hold, the Forward Prize for Best Collection-shortlised Venus As A Bear (2018) and Measures Of Expatriation (2016), which won both the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. They are also co-editor of the Carcanet-published Brotherton Poetry Prize Anthology I (2020) and Brotherton Poetry Prize Anthology II (upcoming in 2022).

We’ve seen Vahni Capildeo read IRL here in Manchester in days of yore, and they are definitely worth checking out again, with a mesmeric quality to their voice, not to mention the rhythmic patterns of their poems.

Vahni Capildeo’s Like A Tree, Walking has been described as “a fresh departure, even for this famously innovative poet”. Taking its title from a story of sight miraculously regained, this book draws on Capildeo’s interest in ecopoetics and silence. Many pieces originate in specific places, from the alternating series of Walk, Nocturne and Lullaby poems inspired by the hilly Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobego, to Vahni’s so-called “stillness exercises” recording microenvironments – emotional and aural – around English trees. Vahni takes guidance from vernacular traditions of sensitivity ranging from Thomas A Clark to the participants in a Leeds libraries project on the Windrush. There’s a remix of Iain Crichton Smith’s Deer On The High Hills (1962), there are crossings-out, there are examples of erasure poems. And it’s a hefty tome, so there’s plenty to get from it.

The event will feature readings and discussion, and Vahni will be joined by Eric Gregory Award-winning poet Padraig Regan, a contributor to Carcanet’s New Poetries VIII anthology, whose much-anticipated first collection, Some Integrity, is due out with Carcanet in January 2022. Padraig Regan was born in 1993 in Belfast. They are the author of two poetry pamphlets: Delicious (Lifeboat, 2016) and Who Seemed Alive & Altogether Real (Emma Press, 2017). They hold a PhD on creative-critical and hybridised writing practices in medieval texts and the work of Anne Carson from the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University Belfast. Vahni says of their work: “To look up from Padraig Regan’s words is to find oneself gently re-fitted into the world.”

As always with Carcanet Press events, extracts of the text will be shown during the reading so that you can read along, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. Registration for this online event is £2, redeemable against the cost of Like A Tree, Walking – attendees will receive a discount code and details of how to get hold of the new book during and after the event.

Like a Tree, Walking by Vahni Capildeo
Like a Tree, Walking by Vahni Capildeo

This event is online only.

Like a Tree, Walking by Vahni Capildeo: Online Book Launch

1 December 2021 7:00 pm
From £2.00