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Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo | 04-Aug-17

Staff Pick from our Poetry Library Open Day 2016 - this year two items were chosen written by Vahni Capildeo.

Measures of Expatriation / Vahni Capildeo -- Manchester : Carcanet, 2016.

'As if casually, Trinidad, sedimentary, no coral spit, once broke off from Venezuela.'

A dense, beautiful and often humorous collection, Vahni Capildeo's Measures of Expatriation presents a challenge to conventional notions of language and form. Her conception of expatriation eschews fixed ideas of nationhood and subjectivity, traversing freely across nation states and states of mind. However, this movement is contingent upon historical, social, and cultural conditions external to the self.

Her arresting and singular voice engages the reader in a challenging series of poems and prose poems which shape-shift to accommodate the multiple meanings of her subject matter.

Each word, so carefully chosen, is a unit of meaning in its own right.


Although Measures of Expatriation is informed by Vahni Capildeo's lived experience in Trinidad, the UK and elsewhere, the themes she explores - transitions, migration, identity/ies are very much part of the contemporary global condition. The movement of people will continue to determine the future.

Sonia Hope
Assistant Librarian at NPL & Hayward Librarian

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