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The Tempest Prognosticator (Salt Modern Poets) Paperback – 15 Jul 2011


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Paperback, 15 Jul 2011
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Review

Isobel Dixon was born with the gift of lyricism as natural speech. A measure of her accomplishment is that all the sense impressions of Africa, even if the reader has never actually been there, live naturally in her poetry as if it were the only landscape. -- Clive James Isobel Dixon's poetry moves from observation or memory to metaphor in a silky glide ... with a beautifully controlled surrealism that shapes and narrates internal states. -- Shaun de Waal Mail & Guardian (South Africa) Most striking is Dixon's penchant for short powerful bursts of insight or reflection. She knows when enough is enough and the word choice of her free verse often commands some powerful imagery ... This is a modern poet in fine command of her art. -- Dan Szczesny The Hippo (USA) A contemporary, accessible lyricism ... characterised by sensuous natural imagery. -- James Tink PN Review Isobel Dixon's work is characterised as much by her strong lyrical voice as by her central preoccupations of settlement, exploration and selfhood ... Dixon confidently moves from sharply pitched observations in shorter verse to elegantly expressive longer pieces ... There are strong hints in her work that she has much more to say and there is no one better placed, or rather, displaced, to say it. -- Alex Pryce Contemporary Writers A precision reminiscent of Szymborska ... What characterises Dixon's poetry most poignantly is its accessibility, which should not be mistaken for simplicity. Written in free verse, her work exudes ease and unpretentiousness. Dixon is fully in command of the poetic tools at her disposal. In her hands form and content intertwine naturally, never allowing the reader's attention to wane. Intelligent and sensuous, Dixon's poetry has the wonderful quality of being able to hold the essence of a variety of moods, places and people, which many readers, whether poetry lovers or not, will find engrossing. -- Karina Magdalena Szczurek Sunday Independent (South Africa) Isobel Dixon's gift is to bring the same exactitude to the rendering of physical detail as she does to the awesome pit-face of human grief. The intimate details of her personal history are reported with congeniality and with admirable control. -- Tim Liardet Fine, warm, sensuous poems which deal boldly with both the light and dark sides of family life and with the many manifestations and resonances of grief -- Kate Clanchy Another lyrical voice is Isobel Dixon, whose A Fold in the Map has a powerful section charting the illness and death of her father. -- Elaine Feinstein The Times When my father died a few years ago I was totally inconsolable and found comfort only in books - especially books of poetry such as Isobel Dixon's A Fold in the Map, in which she writes about the death of her father. -- Grethe Fox Femina More understated but no less powerful than [Sophie Hannah and Frances Leviston's collections] is Isobel Dixon's A Fold in the Map, which includes a poignant retelling of her father's illness and decline ... Dixon's own graceful style provides soothing contrast to the bewilderment and indignity her father suffers. -- Nathalie Whittle Financial Times The freight of memory and love and loss coalesce into profoundly moving elegy; these are "stigmata for my father / and his panel-beaten heart". -- Shaun de Waal Mail and Guardian (South Africa) Isobel Dixon shows great accessible range with this refreshing and exhilarating collection. Nature, real and unreal, is evoked as the poet perfectly captures a world where not all is as it seems and where nature and art intersect with a wonderfully pleasing outcome. We find Robinson Crusoe shipwrecked on the moon, whilst Hirst, Marais and Rousseau are invoked to aid the collection's overarching themes of loss and despair. A brilliantly surreal collection, THE TEMPEST PROGNOSTICATOR will appeal to readers for its invention, wide-ranging allusions and playful (and sometimes painful) explorations of the modern self through a rich tapestry of nature and culture. Poetry Book Society Bulletin, Autumn 2011

About the Author

Isobel Dixon has been described by Clive James as being 'born with the gift of lyricism as natural speech' and by J M Coetzee as 'a poet confident in her mastery of her medium.' Her poems have appeared in publications like The Paris Review, The Guardian, Penguin's Poems for Love and The Forward Book of Poetry. Salt published A Fold in the Map in 2007. www.isobeldixon.com


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