Trinidadian-British poet, Vahni Capildeo joined renowned Canadian poet and writer Dionne Brand on a busy corner of Bloor Street West in Toronto. They discussed the multiplicity of languages, the significance of corners and the repetition of colonial memories and structures in the architecture of the city.

“The main appeal for working in Canada is learning more about the incredible diversity of population and its relation to a large territory; also its manner of dealing with an evolving history with difficult roots. At a personal level I work between English and French and am fascinated to know more about the possibilities for multilingual poetics as lived and developing among Canada’s writers today.”

Vahni Capildeo

Vahni Capildeo is a Scotland-based writer whose poetry includes Utter (Peepal Tree Press), Simple Complex Shapes (Shearsman) and Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet; Forward Poetry Prizes Best Collection 2016). Her non-fiction appears regularly in PN Review; recently she has written on a feminist gardener in Kenya and on cocoa-growing in Trinidad for adda, the online magazine from Commonwealth Writers. She is an incoming Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at the University of Leeds.

Dionne Brand is a poet and novelist. Her latest novel is Love Enough. Her book of poetry, Ossuaries, won the Griffin Poetry Prize, and her literary honours include the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award, the Toronto Book Award and the 2006 Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the world of books and writing. She was Toronto’s third Poet Laureate from 2009 – 2012 and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2017.