The Darwin Vampires
Page Count: 74
Publication Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Cover Artwork: Fallen Roses © by Elizabeth Glover. Reproduced with the kind permission of the artist. More info: elizabethglover.com
About this Book
The Darwin Vampires, Patrick Chapman's fifth collection, draws on life as much as on imagination, candidly exploring themes of memory, death, fractured love, and the strangeness of the world. From the Pushcart-Prize-nominated title poem, through wistful elegies for lost childhood innocence, to the final, affecting sequence on mortality, The Darwin Vampires is an addictive and immersive experience.
Patrick Chapman was born in 1968. The Darwin Vampires is his fifth collection, following Jazztown (Raven Arts Press, Dublin, 1991), The New Pornography (Salmon Poetry, Co. Clare, 1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (Salmon Poetry, 2007) and A Shopping Mall on Mars (BlazeVOX Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2008). His book of short stories is The Wow Signal (Bluechrome, UK, 2007).
Also a scriptwriter, he adapted his own published story for Burning the Bed (2003). Directed by Denis McArdle, this award-winning film stars Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen. Chapman has written several episodes of the Cbeebies and RTÉ series Garth & Bev (Kavaleer, 2009/10). His audio play, Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks (Big Finish, UK, 2007), was directed by Mark J. Thompson. It stars Wendy Padbury as Zoe and Nicholas Briggs as the Daleks.With Philip Casey, he founded the Irish Literary Revival website in 2006. This brings out-of-print books of Irish interest back into circulation online, with the consent and participation of the authors.
Chapman has been a finalist twice in the Sunday Tribune Hennessy Literary Awards. His story 'A Ghost' won first prize in the Cinescape Genre Literary Competition in L.A. The title poem of The Darwin Vampires was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Read a sample from this book
The Darwin Vampires
Being loth to sink in at your neck, they prefer to drink
Between your toes. They revel in the feet; they especially
Enjoy those places in between, where microbial kingdoms,
Overthrown with a pessary, render needle-toothed
Injuries invisible; where any trace of ingress, lost in the fold,
Is conspicuous - as they themselves in daylight are -
By its absence. You will hardly notice that small
Sting; might not miss a drop until the moment
That the very last is drained. And when you're six
Beneath the topsoil, you will never rise to join them.
Rather, you will be a hint; a fluctuating butterfly;
A taste-regret on someone's tongue; a sudden tinted
Droplet in the iris of a fading smile; a blush upon
A woman's rose; a broken vein in someone's eyelid -
Always one degree below what's needed to be warm.
In that recurring future memory,
I push out from the capsule's
Open hatch - my Mercury
Recalling Alan Shepard's.
Snug within a pressure suit,
I'm paid out on the tether line
That tautens until, breaking
Tensile limits, it whips free,
Unleashing an infinity
In which I feel no terror.
Rather, lost in wonder at the sky,
I find a liberation in accepting
That I'll die out here.
There's nowhere I would rather die.
Mislaid between the moon
And Cape Canaveral,
I revel in being utterly alone,
Elated in my weightlessness -
The last breath in my lungs expelled
To hush a fragile wisp
From that frail atmosphere
Of bygone Earth above where
Nature ever dared to blow.
The flower of an astral ghost,
My final exhalation, leaves
A shrinking mist upon the glass.
Embalmed by space and gliding
Out of orbit, now descending
To cremation-by-re-entry -
I desire within my reverie
To settle on the solar wind,
And float serenely far beyond Centauri.
Review: Books Ireland February 2011
Chapman's writing credits rane from poetry and fiction to radio and television scripts. He co-founded the Irish Literary Revival Website in 2006, which makes available out-of-print books by Irish authors. Perhaps he may be seen principally as a poet as this is his fifth collection. The first was in 1991 and the fourth in 2008. The title poem and others like 'Saint Dracula', 'Oubliette' and 'Funeral Song' give this collection a Gothic feel and some of the poems have a melancholy theme like the loss of childhood, death and unhappy love. Indeed the overall tone is one of sadness and anger. In many of the poems Chapman explores personal relationships but in others, like 'Oubliette', he addresses issues in the wider world. These poems lack the whimsy self-indulgence that is the hallmark of much modern poetry but they have a genuine emotional grip that can be disturbing.
Patrick Chapman interviewed by GROUP 8 - AN ARTISTS COLLECTIVE IN BALLINASLOE, GALWAY, IRELAND (November 3rd, 2010)
Poems from "The Darwin Vampires" on the Peonymoon blog (May 2011)