A classic television series, The Twilight Zone, sets off a genre-bending experiment in science-fiction, autobiography and all the spaces in-between.
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Don Paterson’s new collection of poetry starts from the premise that the crisis of mid-life may be a permanent state of mind. Zonal is an experiment in science-fictional and fantastic autobiography, with all of its poems taking their imaginative cue from the first season of The Twilight Zone (1959–1960), playing fast and loose with both their source material and their author’s own life. Narrative and dramatic in approach, genre-hopping from horror to Black Mirror-style sci-fi, ‘weird tale’ to metaphysical fantasy, these poems change voices constantly in an attempt to get at the truth by alternate means. Occupying the shadowlands between confession and invention, Zonal takes us to places and spaces that feel endlessly surprising, uncanny and limitless.
‘I love the collection’s minutely wrought originality and the way that even dismaying subjects – loneliness, insecurity, botched relationships – have hilarious side-effects. The book made me laugh aloud. It is bracing to see Paterson … returning with eloquence and vim to rhythms of speech.’
‘A joy to read and re-read and re-re-read … as intelligent as [it is] affecting.’
‘Often given to self-reinvention, Paterson has always kept musical panache at the forefront of his multi-award-winning verse … This new book is not only his most seemingly confessional, but also a stylistic departure. Taking its cues from the first season of the TV classic The Twilight Zone, its often surreal, long-lined narratives jump from funny to sad to profound with a suppleness somewhere between Frank O’Hara and CK Williams … The poet’s cutting wit and acute awareness aside, the best poems here are the reimagined character portraits that bookend the collection.’
‘Shows this always inventive poet at his most original … Zonal is a performance of sorts, never less than diabolically clever and, on occasions, very moving.’
‘Paterson at his playful best … a sharp portrayal of what it is to live in a world saturated with information and popular culture, with competing zones of reality and unreality.’
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