The Islands of Chile

David Nash


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Fourteen Publishing
5 September 2022
ISBN: 9781838394387
42 pages

From the publisher

Melancholia and tangible absence are threaded through these absorbing and delicate poems in which the Chilean islands are lovingly catalogued and characterised by Nash and even given voice – a voice which erupts from the haunted shorelines and archipelagos with a deft and surprising lyric power.

Richard Scott

In The Islands of Chile, David Nash offers up an entirely new way of relating to the world through a poetry whose aim is ‘not to confine you to words but to write you back into yourself.’

Nash riffs on the variousness of Chile’s islands to articulate shifting relations between self, world and other, as we labour under the ‘henpeck we call “breath”’.

This is ecologically minded work, exquisitely tuned to the world’s conditional fragility and ablaze with its own truths and a fierce eros in which ‘to be touched / is to be proven.’

Always aware of the fallibilities and slippage of language where ‘you are not quite your name’ these poems are singular, tender and often breathtaking. Nash wrests with the stuff of language, and lets the reader in on the act, seeking lived truths, stalking love, capturing the strangeness and beauty of sentience.

The Islands of Chile is a dazzling, curious and indefinably brilliant debut. Read it and come alive.

Sarah Westcott

Using a variety of experimental approaches and with a singular originality, David Nash constructs a compelling debut publication that grows in power through each section.

Place, the naming of place and the author’s relationship with it, the natural world, addresses to loved ones and a consideration of the self, all are seamlessly braided together, occasionally seasoned by an awareness of broader culture and more demotic notes. The undercurrent throughout is queer love, presented here with original flair, the eroticism often surfacing from surprising angles.

The narrative arc develops and grows in intensity, culminating in a final section powerfully focused on mortality and presented in prose form. It is as if the poetry itself has broken into islands, an effect lightly presaged in the prologue which is a slender poem with barely any lines or words.

Nash doesn’t merely inhabit the islands of Chile; they inhabit him. This pamphlet is more than ‘promising’, conveying the accomplishment of a first book. More please.

Eva Salzman