Nine Arches Press
Tom Chivers – The Terrors (eBook)
eBook launched: October 2013
The Terrors is a sequence of imagined emails; poetic missives from the start of the 21st century to inmates at London's notorious Newgate Prison. The emails introduce a cast of 18th century villains and their gruesome crimes: 'Half-hanged Smith'; executioner-turned-murderer Jack Ketch; the notorious Waltham Blacks.
Mimicking the tone of its primary source, The Newgate Calendar, The Terrors tacks from horror to humour, from moral disgust to the casual chit-chat of the digital generation, all the time delineating London's violent urban undercurrent in bold, energetic and sometimes shocking language.
Praise for The Terrors:
"Dark London history, dredged and interrogated, spits and fizzes with corrosive wit. Language-receipts sustain the necessary illusion. IT MATTERS. It matters: the weight and pace of delivery, the balance of breath. Tom Chivers understands the risks he risks, the play in a taught rope. 'I'll ghost-write, if you ask." - Iain Sinclair
"It's difficult to give an impression of the excitement this collection generates for me. It's a truly remarkable sequence, alive to the possibilities of what language can do, totally confident in its creation of a hyperreality where past and present mingle and bleed into one another. If all of its meaning is not immediately apparent at first, second, or even third reading, this is no kind of handicap. The verve and energy of the writing is enough to make the leap over any semantic gaps the reader might uncover. This is a very achieved debut, and I see it as something of a call to arms to other young poets: who's going to top it?" - Simon Turner, Gists & Piths. Read full review here.
"Another of the things I enjoyed most was the tension between the compressed, shorthand form of the typical email, and the poet’s instinct to wax lyrical. It results in a sense of language only just being kept under control (and at times it glimpses freedom and explodes into all sorts of unexpected allusions and associations). That tension, of course, mirrors the knife edge on which the gaol’s inmates are treading." - Matt Merritt, Polyolbion. Read full review here.
Tom Chivers is a writer and literary arts producer. His books include How To Build A City (2009) and The Terrors (2009), which was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award. He has edited the Penned in the Margins books Generation Txt (2006), City State: New London Poetry (2009) and Stress Fractures: Essays on Poetry (2010). He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2011. He was also co-Director of London Word Festival from its inception in 2008 until 2011, and was a recipient of a Breakthrough Award from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.