Adventures in poetry
Date: 26 July 2018
Extent: 72 pp
BIC Code: DCF
We are delighted to re-issue Isobel Dixon's The Tempest Prognosticator, first published in 2011.
In The Tempest Prognosticator leeches warn of storms, whales blunder up the Thames, toktokkie beetles tap out courtship rituals, and women fall for deft cocktail makers and melancholy apes. With her keen eye and a gift for capturing the natural world, Isobel Dixon entices the reader on a journey where the familiar is not always as it seems, where the sideways glance, the double take, yields rich rewards. From Crusoe to Psycho, Pink Floyd to Fred Astaire, the human zoo’s at play here too, in a collection filled with ‘miracle and wonder’, wit and bite.
‘In this virtuoso collection, the work of a poet confident in her mastery of her medium, Isobel Dixon moves easily from dialogues with the animal world to mordant ventriloquizings of the female self.’ – J. M. Coetzee
‘Exquisitely written, Isobel Dixon’s poems teach us how to read the world anew.’ – Gabeba Baderoon
‘Frogs, birds, bats, baboons, monkeys, peacocks, lizards and boars leap, crawl, shimmer and swoop through Isobel Dixon’s lusciously feral and finely crafted poems – a wake-up call to the imagination and the senses.’ – Catherine Smith
‘Salty and compelling, The Tempest Prognosticator is a richly peopled world. … Isobel Dixon’s is an imagination on the run.’ – David Wheatley, Poetry London
‘Isobel Dixon is an extraordinary talent. … The entirety of this planet – from its animal life to politics, past to present – is found in close-up in her verse.’ – Donald S. Murray, Magma
‘Poetry of exquisite vigour, panache and a resourceful, ranging intelligence. Life-affirming, funny, almost liquid in the movement of language, like the title poem, The Tempest Prognosticator is an ‘ingenious carousel’ of a book.’ – David Morley
Isobel Dixon grew up in South Africa, where her debut collection, Weather Eye, won the Olive Schreiner Prize. She studied in Scotland, works in publishing in London and lives in Cambridge, returning when possible to her family home in the Karoo. Her further collections are A Fold in the Map and The Tempest Prognosticator, which J.M. Coetzee described as ‘a virtuoso collection’. Her work has been recorded for the Poetry Archive and she often collaborates with artists, writers and composers. She took part in the multi-media Hitchcock tribute Psycho Poetica, co-wrote and performed in the Titanic centenary show The Debris Field (with Simon Barraclough and Chris McCabe) and completed two projects with Italian composer Roberto Rusconi – Doppelgänger and Dark Matters, both included in Bearings, published by Nine Arches Press in 2016. In the same year Mariscat published a pamphlet, The Leonids, including poems that will form part of her next Nine Arches collection, The Landing, to be published in April 2022. She is also working on A Whistling of Birds, a poetry-art-music collaboration with Scottish artist Douglas Robertson and American composer Stephen Montague, circling around the nature poetry of D.H Lawrence’s 1923 collection Birds, Beasts and Flowers.
Photograph credit: Jo Kearney