Isobel’s work is gently pervasive. She reads with a confidence and firmness that belies the lyrical lilt of her poetry. Every consonant of her finely-tuned lines is articulated.—Tom Chivers, Publisher of Penned in the Margins,
Tuesday 2 May 2017, Isobel Dixon & Jonty Driver, Cambridge University
Two South African poets, C.J. (Jonty) Driver and Isobel Dixon will be reading and discussing their work.
Venue: Room SR24, Faculty of English, 9 West Road, CB3 9DP.
Free, and all welcome!
Saturday 17 June 2017, Launch of The Tree Line, New Forest Arts Festival
Join us for the launch of The Tree Line: Poems for Trees, Woods & People, an anthology of new poems from Worple Press celebrating our trees and woodlands, and what they mean to people in the UK and beyond. There will be readings by poets from the anthology, including Gillian Clarke (National Poet of Wales 2008-2016), Isobel Dixon, Stephen Boyce and Michael McKimm (who also edited the anthology). The Tree Line celebrates the Woodland Trust’s new Charter for Trees Woods and People designed to mark the 800th Anniversary of the Forest Charter, and has a Foreword from Clive Anderson, who is President of the Woodland Trust.
Location: Treehouse Study Centre, Countryside Education Trust Treehouse, Hartford Wood, Beaulieu, Hampshire, SQ42 7YL
Free, and booking is not required.
In 2017, on the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Charter of the Forest, the Woodland Trust along with over 70 other organisations will publish a new ‘Charter for Trees, Woods & People’. To shape this new Charter they have asked the public to share their memories of trees and tell them why trees are important. This anthology complements this work by asking the same questions through poetry: a Charter for Trees, Woods & People in verse.
Michael McKimm has invited over 60 poets to write new poems in response to the 1217 Charter of the Forest, trees or woodlands of personal significance to them, or how trees have shaped our society, landscape and lives. In this anthology you’ll find poems about trees in gardens and along the sides of roads, trees to climb and build dens in, favourite trees cut down. Poems about childhood, memory, history, motherhood, nationhood, law, mythology and death. Poems about turning into trees. Poems about getting lost in the woods. Poems about oak, ash, alder, pine, chestnut, birch and many more besides -- a profound celebration of trees.
Some of the poets involved include Simon Armitage, Alison Brackenbury, Gillian Clarke, Isobel Dixon, Philip Gross, David Morley, Andrew Motion, Grace Nichols and Penelope Shuttle. The Tree Line is supported by the Legal Sustainability Alliance, a movement of legal firms who work collaboratively to improve the environmental sustainability of their activities.
To pre-order The Tree Line: Poems for Trees, Woods and People, see here.
ALREADY BEEN & GONE:
WHAT WAS ON (earlier in 2017 ...)
Saturday 8 April 2017, The Persisters 'Holding the Line', Star of Kings, London
The Persisters is a network of feminist poets and artists, concerned about the turning tide in the rights of women and all minorities. HOLDING THE LINE was a vibrant day of artistic activism, fund-raising (for Women's Aid) and spirit-raising (for us all), held on 8 April at The Star of Kings, London N1 0AX, from 3pm to midnight (with readings from 3-8pm and party after!). The day raised money for Women’s Aid, a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services for women and children, seeking to build a future where domestic violence is not tolerated.
Click to donate via my fundraising page on JustGiving.
Sunday 19 February 2017, The Verve Poetry Festival, Birmingham
Nine Arches Press Showcase featuring Isobel Dixon, Roy McFarlane, Abegail Morley and Robert Peake.
Nine Arches Press is an independent Midlands-based poetry publisher that is dedicated to publishing the very best contemporary work that excites, surprises and delights. In this “Lost and Found” event, join four of their fantastic poets for a reading that explores themes of absence, loss, bearings and finding your way.
Sunday 12 February 2017, Buzzwords with Greg Leadbetter, Cheltenham
On Sunday evening, 12 February, I led a workshop and reading with Greg Leadbetter at Buzzwords at the Exmouth Arms in Cheltenham - my first time there and it was a great workshop group and audience. Greg and I are Nine Arches family - last year Jane Commane of Nine Arches published my fourth collection Bearings in April and Greg's The Fetch in October. See more on Greg's site here. I read from Bearings and my Mariscat pamphlet The Leonids, along with new work and Greg read brilliantly from his "uncanny, unnerving and poignant" debut collection.
WHAT WAS ON (way back in 2016 ...)
Sunday 20 November 2016, Havana 10km in aid of Parkinson's UK
Not a poetry event exactly, though as I run I shall be thinking of my mother, Ann Dixon, who had Parkinson's. My pamphlet with Mariscat, The Leonids, is about her and with this (modest) 10 km race, I hope to raise funds for the research and support work of Parkinson's UK. If you feel moved to donate something, my JustGiving page is here. Thank you.
Wednesday 9 November, The Poetry of the Periodic Table, Thinktank, Birmingham
Little Atoms presents The Poetry of the Periodic Table, the second of their Two Cultures In Conversation evenings. Join poet Isobel Dixon and Dr Zoe Schnepp of the University of Birmingham Chemistry Department to explore the elementary, from Arsenic to Zirconium (well, not quite everything in between though...). Birmingham's Thinktank provides a great location for a night where we use poetry and science to examine the stuff that makes up our world. Local poetry publisher the Emma Press will create specially commissioned illustration and poetry to mark what will be a truly unusual evening. In association with Arts Council England and the Emma Press.
6:30-8:00, Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum, Curzon Street, Birmingham, B4 7XG. View Map.
Thursday 27 October, Stablemates: Nine Arches Salon, Waterstones Piccadilly, London
Jill Abram presents three poets from Nine Arches Press in an evening of readings and conversation, the second of the Stablemates Salons. Isobel Dixon, Jo Bell and Rishi Dastidar will be reading together, featuring poems from their Nine Arches collections. You can see more detail on the poets and their work here.
Waterstones Piccadilly, 203/206 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HD. Map and more information here.
7:00 Readings will start promptly at 7.30pm. Tickets £5
Saturday 1 October, The Music of Grant McLachlan, Baxter Theatre, Cape Town
A special 60th birthday concert for composer Grant McLachlan, celebrating 40 years of his music.The concert included the premiere of his Sonatina for Double Bass, commissioned by Leon Bosch, as well as a selection from Bach`s "The Art Of Fugue". A sampling of his work over the past four decades includes his recent choral piece "Of Light" in which four poems are set to music - poems by Olive Schreiner, Antjie Krog and Ingrid de Kok as well as Isobel Dixon's short poem 'Back in the Benighted Kingdom'. The centrepiece of the concert was the piano quintet "Oesterwal Landscape" which was commissioned in 1992 by the Music Group Of Manchester, of which Bosch is a member. The concert concluded with the ever popular carol "Come, Colours Rise".
Baxter Concert Hall - Cape Town, Western Cape. Sat 1 Oct 2016 8:15 pm
Part of the night's profits were put towards a bursary fund to enable worthy students to attend the Franschhoek Chamber Music Workshop. The workshop is in its 27th year and offers musically gifted young people a week's intensive training in chamber music.
Tuesday 20 September 2016, Bearings & Beginnings, Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival
Nine Arches Press presents an evening of poetry on the theme of travelling and homecoming, getting your bearings and finding your beginnings with poets Roy Mcfarlane and Isobel Dixon, who will read from their new poetry collections. These are poems of love and loss, discovery and belonging, and both poets will also interweave Shakespeare and sonnets into their journey. Join us to travel poetry's path and see where it takes us - around the world, across borders, even just around the corner...
Shakespeare's Birthplace, Henley St, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6QW, Stratford-upon-Avon. More info, map and directions on the Shakespeare's Birthplace website here.
7:30- 9:00 p.m. Tickets £7 (£5 concessions). Event info and book here.
Saturday 17 September 2016, The Leonids & Bearings Launch, Brighton Keep, Graaff-Reinet
A home town reading! A Great Karoo launch reading from my two 2016 publications, Bearings (poems of exploration - poetic, political, geographical) published by Modjaji in South Africa), but mostly from The Leonids (a pamphlet largely about my mother and my sisters, published by Scottish publisher Mariscat). This will also be very much a celebration of my mother, who died at our home in Graaff-Reinet in May 2015. A short reading and morning tea, in a lovely Graaff-Reinet setting.
11:30-12:30, Brighton Keep, 72 Somerset Street, Graaff-Reinet.
Facebook event details here. Free but books will be on sale. Join us for morning tea, cake and poetry!
Wednesday 14 September 2016, The Leonids & Bearings Launch, ArtKaroo Gallery, Oudtshoorn
A return to my sister Janet Dixon's art gallery, ArtKaroo, for a Little Karoo launch reading from my two 2016 publications, Bearings (poems of exploration - poetic, political, geographical) published by Modjaji in South Africa), but mostly from The Leonids (a pamphlet largely about my mother and my sisters, published by Scottish publisher Mariscat). This will also be very much a celebration of my mother, who died at our home in Graaff-Reinet in May 2015. A short reading and a glass of wine, and a chance to see some fine Karoo art.
18:30 at ArtKaroo, 54 Baron van Reede St, Prince Vincent Building, Oudtshoorn.
Facebook event details here. Free, but books will be for sale. Join us for art, poetry and a glass of wine!
See report in Die Hoorn here.
Wednesday 17 August 2016, 6 Poets at the Fruitmarket, Edinburgh
Step away from the Festival hubbub, into a world of art and poetry. In this popular annual event at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Isobel Dixon and Rob Mackenzie will be hosting and reading with poets Tessa Berring, Clare Best, Eliza Kentridge and Alan Gillis. The night will include new work by the poets, as well as a fresh art-themed poem from each poet, linked to the the gallery's current exhibition by Mexican sculptor, Damián Ortega. Come early to see the exhibition before the poetry! There will be a bar, art, poetry and the special Fruitmarket Gallery festival atmosphere!
Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF (next to Waverley Station). 7 p.m. for 7:30 reading start.
FREE (though we will pass round the hat for a donation to the cause of art and poetry!)
Come on the night, or let us know on the Facebook Event page or the Fruitmarket Gallery's Eventbrite.
Friday 12 August 2016, The Leonids Launch, Blackwells South Bridge, Edinburgh
Mariscat hosted the launch of The Leonids, a pamphlet mostly about my mother, Ann Dixon, seventeen poems about being a daughter and a sister, about depression and recovery, old age and love. I was delighted to return to Blackwells, South Bridge, for this launch and grateful to Blackwells and Hamish Whyte of Mariscat. The shop used to be James Thins when I studied in Edinburgh - the shop where I spent hours browsing the poetry and literature sections, and where I bought many of my favourite books: David Jones's In Parenthesis, various Collecteds by Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney. This is also where I first saw poets like Adrienne Rich and Douglas Dunn read - so it was a huge thrill to celebrate this new book there.
'These beautiful poems, their imaginative energy, crystalline natural imagery and purity of line evoking the past and invoking a sense of personal and sororial loss, are in turn celebratory and revelatory. Recalling her parents with insight and tenderness – startlingly elegising her father and in conjuring up her mother's presence and strength, unselfconsciously mirroring her own – Isobel Dixon instils both heartbreak and exhilaration. And in extending her poetic frontiers she ever more vibrantly consolidates her roots.' - Stewart Conn, poet and playwright
Blackwells, 53-62 South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1YS Time: 6 for 6:30, with a short reading and refreshments, till 8 pm.
Free, but do register on Eventbrite here. For more information or if you would like a signed copy because you can't make it to the event, please contact Ann Landmann on 0131 622 8222 or email@example.com
Thursday 11 August 2016, The Late Stage Cabaret Edinburgh
I joined the Late Stage Cabaret Crew on Thursday 11 August at the New Town Theatre (Venue 7). "A catharsis of cultural creativity from Scotland's capital city! Each evening, host and hero of the Edinburgh music scene, Paul Montague, will bring you an eclectic mix of performances and styles. Showcasing Edinburgh's songwriting and spoken word communities – fused with hand-picked acts from the plethora of performers from this year's Festival Fringe – giving an insight into the macrocosm that is Edinburgh's vibrant artistic community. Beautiful music, played by people passionate about music; words, crafted by people who care about language; lunacy, performed by lunatics unafraid of the moon."
Monday 11 July 2016, Cafe Writers with Dixon, Morley & Webb, Norwich
Isobel Dixon will be reading at the Cafe Writers series in Norwich with fellow Nine Arches poets Julia Webb and Abegail Morley. All three poets have new collections out this year and will also read from new work. Julia is resident in Norwich and Abegail and Isobel will be visiting Norwich for the event.
Take 5, 17 Tombland, Norwich, NR3 1HF (upstairs function room) 7:30 pm. Entry only £2.00.
Sunday 3 July 2016, South Africa Spotlight, Ledbury Poetry Festival
Isobel Dixon read with fellow South African poets Gabeba Baderoon and Toni Stuart at the South Africa Spotlight event on the Sunday of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.
6-7:30 p.m with a short interval, £9. Book tickets here. Burgage Hall, ChurchLane, Ledbury, HR8 1DW
Toni Stuart is a South African poet, performer and spoken word educator. Most recently she collaborated with the flamenco company dotdotdot dance as part of the Sadler's Wells Wild Card Nights. She will be reading work from "Krotoa-Eva's Suite - a cape jazz poem in three movements" - a collection she is currently working on, which tells the largely unknown story of the 17th century Khoi woman Krotoa-Eva who played a significant role in South Africa's history during the time of the first Dutch settlers.
Gabeba Baderoon is an award-winning poet and scholar and the author of the poetry collections, The Dream in the Next Body and A Hundred Silences, and the monograph Regarding Muslims: from slavery to post-apartheid. She says, “I have been working on a new collection of poems, tentatively titled Axis and Revolution. They feel still tender, with new skin, and I will share some of them with the audience at Ledbury. The poems in the collection speak of losing love and memory and the fragile apparatus of identity on which we hang so much.”
Isobel Dixon’s A Fold in the Map and her new collection Bearings have poems which relate to South Africa, the history of patients and political prisoners on Robben Island, poems about the damage of apartheid, the horror of state sanctioned assassination by police and a short poem about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She also writes vividly about travel, nature and family and has a pamphlet forthcoming from Mariscat, The Leonids, about her mother, while A Fold in the Map was about her father. Common themes for discussion at this fascinating event are politics and apartheid history, parents and love, of course!
See the full Ledbury Poetry Festival Programme here.
Friday 1 July 2016, Ledbury Poetry Festival
Isobel Dixon reads her poem 'Late Knowledge' and Gabeba Baderoon's 'The Song of the Husband' from the Ledbury Poetry Festival's 20th anniversary anthology HWAET! (Bloodaxe, 2016) as part of the opening events on Friday. Hwaet! is the opening line of Beowulf – meaning Listen Here! It is the title for the Ledbury Poetry Festival Anthology featuring 192 poets from all over the world who have performed at Ledbury since the Festival started 20 years ago. This is apt considering that for twenty years Ledbury Poetry Festival has invited audiences to listen to the best, the most exciting and the most promising international poets and performers. The Festival will launch with an anthology reading introduced by publisher Neil Astley and editor Mark Fisher, featuring poets including Penelope Shuttle, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Philip Rush, Toni Stuart, Kim Moore, Alison Brackenbury, Hannah Lowe, Ruth Padel, Daljit Nagra, Isobel Dixon, Jonathan Edwards, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, Fleur Adcock, Festival poet in residence Jacob Polley and many more.
13-15 May 2016, Franschhoek Literary Festival, South Africa
Friday 13 May 2016
10h00  Schools: Poetry — Write, read, hear (Protea Hotel 2)
Poetry was not written to be dull. Finuala Dowling (Notes from the Dementia Ward) leads the discussion on the ways that poetry can be brought to life, for maximum insight and pleasure, with fellow poets Linda Kaoma (Badilisha Poetry X-change), Isobel Dixon (Bearings) and Wendy Woodward (A Saving Bannister).
11h30  Schools: Poetry for Life Competition Finals (Church Hall) Special event, ending by 14h00
Finuala Dowling (host) and judges Isobel Dixon, Leon de Kock and Quentin Williams, and Celia van Druten (accuracy), oversee the finals in this high school competition to encourage the learning of poetry by heart.
14h30  The nature of poetry (Protea Hotel 2)
UCT scholar Hedley Twidle discusses the themes of nature in the poetry of the late Stephen Watson (A Writer’s Diary) with Isobel Dixon and her new collection, Bearings.
17:30-19:30 Essence Cafe Reading (Essence Cafe)
Several poets will read each for 10 minutes in this popular Friday night event at Essence Cafe. I'll be reading in the early part of the evening. Essence Cafe Shop 7 Huguenot Square, Huguenot Street, Franschhoek
Saturday 14 May 2016
11h30  Speaking up or writing down (Protea Hotel 2)
Primrose Mrwebi speaks with fellow poets Blaq Pearl, Isobel Dixon and Olajumoke Verissimo on the differing styles and delivery of spoken and written poetry.
Sunday 15 May 2016
10h00  'The ears of my ears awake' (Protea Hotel 2)
Channeling the words of e.e. cummings, Karin Schimke (Bare & Breaking) in discussion with poets Isobel Dixon (Bearings), Khadija Heeger and Primrose Mrwebi about their moment of first 'hearing' poetry — when their ears were opened to the magic of poetry, and how it inspired them to write their own poems.
13h00  Breaking the barrier (Hospice Hall)
Christopher Hope asks publishing agent Isobel Dixon (Blake Friedmann Literary Agency) and South African author Niq Mhlongo (Affluenza) what it takes to get a book published in the global market.
Monday 9 May 2016, Off-the-Wall Reading Observatory, Cape Town
Isobel Dixon will be featured reader at Off-the-Wall in Observatory, her first South African reading from her new collection Bearings, published by Modjaji Books.
7:30 @TAAC - Methodist Minor Hall, Wesley Rd, Observatory, Cape Town
Sunday 24 April 2016, Nine Arches Showcase at Wenlock Poetry Festival
With more than fifty poetry collections under their belt, Nine Arches Press (last year’s Publisher in Residence) returns to Wenlock with three new collections from Isobel Dixon, Julia Webb and Abegail Morley. Encompassing themes of loss, travel, mythology and sisterhood, each collection is distinct, memorable and inviting. Come along for the ride on what should be an irresistible and imaginative journey!
10:30 am - 11:15 a.m. Wenlock Pottery Old Chapel House, Sheinton Street, Much Wenlock, Shropshire, TF13 6HT, £8
8 April 2016, Launch of Bearings at the Yorkshire Grey, London
Launch of Bearings at the Yorkshire Grey, London.