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Utter by Vahni Capildeo

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Old boundaries come down: between the past and present, between human and animal, animate and inanimate, between the Caribbean and the global elsewhere, between the experienced world and the world of books. Rooted in an energetic sense of history, her vision remains scrupulously contemporary, wholly engaged in our present moment with poems triggered by the earthquake in Haiti, the politics of the globalized Antilles, and the islands’ industrial and agricultural contradictions. And even when the past is evoked, it remains wonderfully modern: dead soldiers welcoming a modern English apartment-dweller; Beowulf-era abandoned women pinned and pining on islands or beneath trees and recent migrants traveling their transatlantic journeys. And for all this, there live moments of community and tenderness, beauty and humour, all borne by her witty, prodigious intelligence. This is a book that rewards multiple readings, for at each reading some new untold treasure is sure to be discovered and rediscovered, making it a book as unexpected and as compendious as life.

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