In this conversation with Trinidadian Scottish poet Vahni Capildeo, author of Venus as a Bear (2018), we explore the layered, polyphonous histories of the places we pass through and inhabit.
Capildeo, who studied at Oxford, opens their collection with a series of ekphrastic poems inspired by items in the Ashmolean Museum’s permanent collection, part of the book's rich investigation into the material and immaterial persistence of the past. Last December, I met with Capildeo in London to talk about these poems and history as a reckoning of erasures, translation, and roses.
This episode features the poem “Heirloom Rose, for Maya” from Capildeo’s Venus as a Bear (Carcanet Press, 2018), which was shortlisted for the 2018 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Staying Alive is an original podcast series produced and hosted by Adriana X. Jacobs, with editing by Danielle Beeber and Danny Cox, and music by The Zombie Dandies. Support for this podcast comes from the John Fell Fund. For more information about this episode, including materials that didn’t make it into the final cut, visit the podcast website stayingalive.show.