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Measures of Expatriation

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Vahni Capildeo is known for the experimental edge in her work and her love of collaborating on live performances with fellow poets. In this compelling new collection from the Trinidadian-born poet and Rhodes scholar, her uninhibited style invites us to delve deep between the lines and experience for ourselves the heartaches and emotional challenges that come from separatio Vahni Capildeo is known for the experimental edge in her work and her love of collaborating on live performances with fellow poets. In this compelling new collection from the Trinidadian-born poet and Rhodes scholar, her uninhibited style invites us to delve deep between the lines and experience for ourselves the heartaches and emotional challenges that come from separation; both from a testing relationship and one's motherland.


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Vahni Capildeo is known for the experimental edge in her work and her love of collaborating on live performances with fellow poets. In this compelling new collection from the Trinidadian-born poet and Rhodes scholar, her uninhibited style invites us to delve deep between the lines and experience for ourselves the heartaches and emotional challenges that come from separatio Vahni Capildeo is known for the experimental edge in her work and her love of collaborating on live performances with fellow poets. In this compelling new collection from the Trinidadian-born poet and Rhodes scholar, her uninhibited style invites us to delve deep between the lines and experience for ourselves the heartaches and emotional challenges that come from separation; both from a testing relationship and one's motherland.

30 review for Measures of Expatriation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    "It is inconceivable to me that there was nothing on the land in the residential area of Port of Spain where my family's house was built, though I knew the construction date was 1971, and some of the building materials from the quarry that my grandfather owned; thereby his ill elder son and unarranged daughter-in-law were enabled to hide respectfully and save face for the family. There is no such thing as nothing. Our storybooks were English and children in them ran around thousand-year-old castl "It is inconceivable to me that there was nothing on the land in the residential area of Port of Spain where my family's house was built, though I knew the construction date was 1971, and some of the building materials from the quarry that my grandfather owned; thereby his ill elder son and unarranged daughter-in-law were enabled to hide respectfully and save face for the family. There is no such thing as nothing. Our storybooks were English and children in them ran around thousand-year-old castles...our mouths were Hindu and we were encouraged to imagine many civilizations in a universe cyclically created and destroyed; and our island geography, we were told, had been Arawak and Carib." From "Too Solid Flesh" in MEASURES OF EXPATRIATION (2017) by Vahni Capildeo. A much longer, sprawling prose poem touching on Trinidadian landscape / indigenous peoples' history, South Asian diaspora and culture in the West Indies, and colonial education models and materials still taught. Capildeo (they/them) uses this prose story poetry form in many of their works. I read their 2019 collection SKIN CAN HOLD back in December 2019 and realized I never reviewed it here, and that's likely because I felt unequipped on how to discuss. It made me feel curious for more, but I also wasn't sure I was able to grasp it all. Confronting the complexity of words and forms. Their poems are often quite long, meandering, with snippets that precisely cut back to a theme before meandering again. It's a novel form, and one that requires attention. Later pieces in this collection shift to more personal narratives, describing transatlantic travel from current home in Scotland to Trinidad for family visits, and the emotions surrounding these travels. Not an easy breezy reading experience, but one that definitely has me considering the diverse forms and voices in the Caribbean context.

  2. 4 out of 5

    E A M Harris

    Very interesting and varied poems exploring the core and strange edges of expatriate experience. Much of the work is prose poetry, which shows how well Ms Capildeo observes and records her surroundings and feelings. Recommended to anyone who enjoys modern poetry or who likes to understand other people's point of view. Very interesting and varied poems exploring the core and strange edges of expatriate experience. Much of the work is prose poetry, which shows how well Ms Capildeo observes and records her surroundings and feelings. Recommended to anyone who enjoys modern poetry or who likes to understand other people's point of view.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    "Language is my home... not one particular language." "Language is my home... not one particular language."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    The author is clearly an academic and it shows in her writing, her poems feel very thought out and edited. But the way she formed words together was delicious. I preferred the prose poems, they reminded me of Virginia Woolf at times, or at least how Woolf makes me feel. The switching back and forth between prose and poetry threw me off though, it felt like I kept having to switch to another part of my brain. Recommend this but not to first time poetry readers, it’s a dense one, but in a good way The author is clearly an academic and it shows in her writing, her poems feel very thought out and edited. But the way she formed words together was delicious. I preferred the prose poems, they reminded me of Virginia Woolf at times, or at least how Woolf makes me feel. The switching back and forth between prose and poetry threw me off though, it felt like I kept having to switch to another part of my brain. Recommend this but not to first time poetry readers, it’s a dense one, but in a good way.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Capildeo plays with language, making it feel foreign, strange and unsettling which reflects the topics of the collection. The alienation of being somewhere unfamiliar is me reading this book! I got the sense that Capildeo feels safe behind words, in words, surrounded by words. For me personally there are too many words. The poems feel over-worked. This is a collection that requires time and patience, providing you are not put off by the dense complexity of its contents.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucia Cannizzaro

    This collection hits too close to home to not adore it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    ‘Language is my home. It is alive other than in speech. It is beyond a thing to be carried with me. It is ineluctable, variegated and muscular. A flicker and drag emanates from the idea of it. Language seems capable of girding the oceanic earth, like the world-serpent of Norse legend. It is as if language places a shaping pressure upon our territories of habitation and voyage; thrashing, independent, threatening to rive our known world apart.’

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mehar

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andy Berry

    I've been on Goodreads for a while now. In that time this is by far the worst book I have read. It comes across to me as just pretentious nonsense, I'm amazed that it was chosen as a PBS choice. I've been on Goodreads for a while now. In that time this is by far the worst book I have read. It comes across to me as just pretentious nonsense, I'm amazed that it was chosen as a PBS choice.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

  12. 4 out of 5

    rachy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Fitch

  15. 4 out of 5

    Flora

  16. 5 out of 5

    Haley

  17. 4 out of 5

    Asmita Kundu

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wed

  19. 4 out of 5

    D Viejo Rose

  20. 4 out of 5

    Frank

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kashif

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cherelle

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tolu

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charon Lloyd-Roberts

  25. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Dara

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  28. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Winchester

  29. 5 out of 5

    Borisbadenough

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Clay

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