O Positive is the long-awaited debut collection of poetry from Joe Dunthorne, and it has all the appeal of his widely acclaimed fiction.
Adopting a sunny, genial tone, Dunthorne lures the reader to darker places, exploring death and dread, failure and regret - the 'lounge of our suffering'. Often, he catches us off-guard: a 'whiplash' effect where poems shift from laughter to slaughter in a moment. Impertinent owls, an immersive theatre troupe, ancient men from the Great War and idiot balloonists - such characters dramatise our human fancies and foibles, joining the protagonist in scenarios both humorously bizarre and all-too-familiar. These performances serve to probe and unpeel the layers of the self - all the way down to the raw.