The Disposession Game

David Chambers

About the book…

This time the wind favoured us.
Six hundred vessels, canvas spread to the breeze,
Sailed out from Hellevoetsluis in evening light
Bearing North West,
Freighted with twenty thousand fighting men,
Five thousand horses, field artillery,
Bakers and gunsmiths, saddlers, engineers,
A fortnight’s fodder and victuals ...

­ from ‘The Descent on England, 1688’

1688: England is invaded. 1691: Suppression of Ireland.

The Dispossession Game begins with William of Orange landing in Devon, at the head of a multinational force. The seismic events of the years following altered permanently the history of Ireland, Britain and the rest of Europe. For some it was a truly ‘Glorious Revolution’; for others a turning point in the struggle between the great powers of England, Holland and France. And for others still, this was the decade in which the national epic reached its tragic denouement.

The questions raised by David Chambers’ long narrative orchestration of voices- an unknown Huguenot soldier, a Brehon poet, a non-subscribing clergyman in Belfast, Edmund Burke, Warren Hastings and WB Yeats – resonate powerfully today: When is it right to disregard the law? What is a terrorist? Who is an innocent bystander? What obligations do citizens owe to those beyond their borders? What recompense do settlers owe to the dispossessed?

Lying outside the confines of the traditional Northern Irish lyric, The Dispossession Game engages the reader in a bracing political and ethical confrontation. In doing so, it re-affirms and re-invigorates the notion that poetry is both in and of the world.

Photo of the author, David Chambers

About the author…

David Chambers was born in Belfast in 1932, to a Scottish mother and afather whose family came to Co Down as tenant farmers in Elizabethan times. 

After going to school in Belfast and majoring in philosophy at university, he spent seven years in the US first as a graduate student and then as a lecturer in economics. Since that time he has lived in London. He and his wife Hilary, a Londoner, met when both were working in Chicago. 

They have five children.