Dark Islands by Tom Chivers
Published by Test Centre (2015)
The collection brings together poems written by Tom Chivers over a period of four years, united by their themes of observation, dreaming, landscape, the city, money and finance, the future, magic, protest and modernity. The poems in Dark Islands are rooted in the curiosities of human observation, yet interested in the possibilities of a world beyond that – of dreams, futures and imagined pasts. Throughout the collection, the image of the island is explored both literally and metaphorically, as the poems address utopian and dystopian ideas, themes of isolation and escape, and a concern with the natural and urban environment.
The poems explore the infelicities of language and the difficulties of expression and communication. Layers of meaning and a playful manipulation of language allow moments of humour and astute observations of modern culture to combine with a complex, philosophical outlook that probes into the darker aspects of the familiar world. It is a collection in which traditional forms conceal radical and unconventional images and ideas.