Turn on the Dark

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Turn on the Dark is John Eliot’s third collection of poetry. In it, he examines thoughts, fears, hopes and feelings surrounding he conclusion of life. His own fear of death finds poignancy in the mundane sufficient to elevate it to the spiritual. He writes:

“I think about death more and more as I get older. I fear death. I am haunted by the memory of the time when my phone beeped at 5am and the message from my daughter read, ‘I’m sorry Dad, but I’ve just heard that Leonard Cohen has died.’ I was alone in the darkness of a breaking dawn, the street was silent as I listened to an old record, and Leonard haunted my morning.

“These poems are a therapy; certainly a therapy for me, and perhaps also for you, the reader. I hope so.

JOHN ELIOT was born in Leicester, England, the son of the local GP. His early interests in writing and music came together when, as editor of his university student newspaper, he interviewed reggae legend Bob Marley. He also had articles published in the fan magazines of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. John taught in the south-west of England before moving to France with his wife. He now writes full-time. He was the founder of the literary festival in St Clémentin, France. He has also published a novel, The Good Doctor.


“In this collection, I found poetry of exquisite timeless beauty. These poems are pure music, full of love, full of memory. Inevitably I found myself listening to Leonard Cohen, and not just because he is mentioned in the introduction, but because for me, Eliot’s simple and deeply moving poem Marianne is at the heart of this collection. It is slipped in unassumingly and quietly towards the end, but it says it all.” – CARTHERINE EDMUNDS

“Good poetry is the examination of life, how we see it, how we feel it, how we live it and how we understand it. Turn on the Dark by John Eliot is this type of poetry laid out in beautiful symmetry.  The way in which John’s writing appeals to our senses almost creates the sense that this is a shared memory.  The words start to form pictures and evoke emotions of what it is to feel this earth on our feet, to love, to fear loss and hold close all that is dear to us in this life that is but a short allotment of time… Eliot takes his readers on a deeply fascinating and illuminating spiritual journey that will have you thinking about what the next chapter (by which I mean death) holds in store for us perplexed humans.

There is life, there is death, there is love, there is loss there is sound, there is silence and in all of this poetry stands to record the passing of time. John has achieved this task eloquently.” – CAMILLE BARR, author of Behind the Facade

“I bought this book as I find the subject of death fascinating. I haven’t read much poetry before but after a little reflection I found each poem quite easy to understand. I enjoyed the fact that mortality is broached in different ways and can actually be quite beautiful.” – PAULA JANE TAYLOR, Amazon.co.uk