Poetry stars at Bocas

Among those in the constellation is American poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Phillips was only this month shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, which is Canada’s most generous poetry award for his latest book, Heaven.

“Birds flyin’ high you know how I feel,” Phillips said on Twitter after being short-listed.

Lifting more of Nina Simone’s lines, he continued, “Sun in the sky you know how I feel / Breeze drifting on by you know how I feel.” Phillips received a 2013 Whiting Writers’ Award and has also received the PEN/ Joyce Osterweil Award, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. He will read on April 30 at the Old Fire Station, Port-of-Spain, alongside fellow American poet Reginald Betts.

The reading, which starts at 11 am, is sponsored by the US Embassy.

Also at Bocas this year is acclaimed poet Vahni Capildeo, whose latest book Measures of Expatriation is shortlisted for the 2016 T S Eliot Prize. On April 28, Capildeo will trace “her devious route through the landscapes of language,” in conversation with writer Anu Lakhan, according to the Bocas programme.

Capildeo has judged the Forward Prize and was the 2014 Judith E Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at the University of Cambridge.

She is due to participate in several other events, including a discussion on Shakespeare which will also feature Phillips.

Dionne Brand, Toronto’s third poet laureate, will also participate in the festival.

Brand has won Canada’s Governor General’s Award for Poetry as well as the Griffin Poetry Prize, among many others.

She is also a novelist and her most recent novel, Love Enough, was nominated in 2015 for the Trillium Book Award.

She is the chief judge of the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and will participate in a talk with poet and critic Shivanee Ramlochan on April 29.

Olive Senior, a poet, novelist, short-story writer and non-fiction writer, will also attend the festival once more.

The winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, she is the winner of the fiction category of the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize.

Hannah Lowe will also be featured.

Lowe’s first poetry collection Chick was short-listed for the Forward, Aldeburgh, and Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prizes.

Tishani Doshi’s first book, Countries of the Body, won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Her debut novel, The Pleasure Seekers, was shortlisted for the Hindu Literary Prize and long-listed for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Her lastest book is The Adulterous Citizen, poems, stories and essays.

Additionally, the festival, based at Nalis, Port-of-Spain, will feature: Sarah Beckett, Jacqueline Bishop; John Robert Lee; Vivek Narayanan; and Karen McCarthy Woolf among others.

Full details are available at bocaslitfest.com


"Poetry stars at Bocas"

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