Flood Drain

Annexe Press (2014), sold out

Inspired by the extraordinary dream visions of the medieval poets and catalysed by a two-day exploration of the liminal terrain of the River Hull floodplain, contemporary writer Tom Chivers has crafted a long poem that meditates on the dual themes of dreaming and drainage.

Flood Drain is a limited edition two-tone pamphlet and cartographic artifact of Chivers’ drift along the River Hull.

Commissioned for Humber Mouth Literature Festival.



‘Chivers’ Flood Drain speaks in many voices: some are beautiful, some are demotic and, pulled together, they achieve a confluence, like the Humber and the Hull, like the past and the present.’
John Field, Poor Rude Lines

Flood Drain swirls around a walk Chivers made in an attempt to ‘trigger an altered state of consciousness’ and with that visionary sense he takes as his model Langland’s Malvern dream of Piers Plowman in the opening of which the poet lies down ‘under a brod banke by a bourne syde’ before drifting into a sleep charmed by the sound of the stream’s waters. Very different from the ambitious Medieval allegorical world of Langland’s dream poem this witty and intelligent take on industrial drainage in the twenty-first century has no qualms about playing with sounds and inferences.’
Ian Brinton, Tears in the Fence

‘Beautifully fluent and flashingly contemporary … Chivers is a fine editor, of word and world.’
Alison Brackenbury, PN Review

‘Through the subtle rhythms of the lines, I felt myself tilting ever closer to the waters edge, then, minutes later would find myself submerged – unaware of the transition between Chivers’ own meditations and my own. The poem is best enjoyed through distanced reading rather than close scrutiny, and the pulsing nature of the river can be felt particularly during reading. […] It contains so many hidden depths, small swells and foaming edges. It feels familiar yet fresh with every read.’
Hayden Westfield Bell, Sabotage Reviews

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