“The reason I liked comics was that nobody else did, because it was completely unsupervised…I was given a chance to sneak up on culture by some sort of back door.”
— Alan Moore quoted in A Party in a Lunatic Asylum, The New Yorker, 8th September 2016
Poetry Spotlight: I wonder if you could tell us a bit more about the process of reaching the final order of the book, and how important do you feel the ordering of poems is to how a reader experiences a collection?
Vahni Capildeo: Readers are not to be herded. Even with the best-behaved, most imposing novels, readers will disrespect the chapter order, fall asleep and read things several times over, stop and start again at the wrong place, look at the ending first, somehow randomize the experience.
With Measures of Expatriation, I think I have prepared meaningful surprises for people who are willing to track the indicated paths, but who is to say if or how that would work?
— Vahni Capildeo interview, Poetry Spotlight
The Future Machines issue of Cordite Poetry Review from Australia is now online. It features an essay, artwork, articles, translations, interviews and reviews, as well as poetry chosen by issue poetry editor Bella Li. I’m very pleased to say that my poem ‘Thy will be done‘ is included.
Many thanks to Bella Li and Kent MacCarter.
Posted in Published
Delighted to say two of my poems have been published at Eunoia Review.
The poems are ‘The weatherperson’s partner‘ and
‘Paperback Spells‘. They’re not-quite-genre poems, slipstream perhaps.
Thanks to editor Ian Chung!
Issue 7 of Liminality is out, and I’m really pleased that my poem ‘Faith‘ is included, along with work by twelve other poets. It’s a great wide-ranging issue.
This is my second appearance in Liminality, as issue 4 included ‘The Hero’s Journey‘.
Thanks to Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner!
The Spring 2016 issue of Mirror Dance is out.
As well as fiction, it includes poetry by Nancy Iannucci, Emily Cooper, Sandi Leibowitz, and Anna Sykora. I’m very pleased that my poem ‘The Muse of Cuts‘ is my second appearance in Mirror Dance. Thanks to Megan Arkenberg.
Folk music was a reality of a more brilliant dimension. It exceeded all human understanding, and it called out to you, you could disappear and be sucked into it. I felt right at home in this mythical realm made up not with individuals so much as archetypes, vividly drawn archetypes of humanity, metaphysical in shape, each rugged soul filled with natural knowing and inner wisdom.[…] It was so real, so more true to life than life itself. It was life magnified. Folk music was all I needed to exist.
–Bob Dylan, Chronicles: Volume One, page 236.
I’ve always deeply blamed our education system, because I do think there’s elitism at play that wants to make not only poetry, but all the arts very specialised past a certain point of development. Certainly in high school only the ‘smart’ children […] are privy to learning how to ‘unpack’ a poem, how to really tackle poem and conquer it, because their intellect is made to seem so specialised. We don’t, especially in the US, want to look at poetry as something every student is capable of, because that would be dangerous to those who control the school systems. All students, regardless of their backgrounds, would realise that they are capable of speaking very well; that there are not certain individuals who control what constitutes good language. They would realise that language is not just this agreed upon set of constructed ideas, that it’s not an MLA citation or a five-paragraph essay, that everyone can create new and beautiful language. So it is very frustrating to me when people say, ‘I don’t like poetry,’ or, ‘I don’t understand it,’ because all of that seems the fault of a system that doesn’t want to give poetry its power, and that doesn’t want to give people their power either.
— Dorothea Lasky, in an interview with Rebecca Tamás at Prac Crit.
In a film like Avatar the illusion is almost inescapable, almost all encompassing, and it’s certain that, as we proceed into the future, cinematic illusion is becoming even more so. The flat projection screen is already a kind of archaic convention. It’s just an imitation of the proscenium arch, really. In the future we’re going to take drugs and the screen will be all around us and we’ll have sensory experiences with it and I’m sure it’ll be great, but people will still be going to the theater to watch Hamlet and Laertes fight. The great thing about having somebody die at the end of a sword fight is that it takes a lot of physical energy to do a sword fight. So they’re dead, but their ribcages are heaving up and down. The incomplete, imperfect illusion will never be unnecessary for human beings, and its home will always be in the theater, where everything, including death, is simultaneously thoroughly and yet not entirely convincing.
— Tony Kushner interview, Paris Review, Summer 2012
I’m very pleased to say that the year started with my poem ‘Not Even Cursed’ appearing in the winter edition of the wonderful Kaleidotrope.
Then, mid-month, my poem ‘The Reckoning’ appeared in the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Eye to the Telescope 19.
Thanks to Fred Coppersmith and Curtis Scott Shumaker respectively.