Don’t Go Fish is the fourth chapbook Kat Dixon has published, the others being Kississippi, an e-chap from Gold Wake Press, and Planetary Mass and Birding, which are both forthcoming (Dancing Girl Press and Thunderclap Press, respectively).
Coming from Maverick Duck Press, Don’t Go Fish is plain and unassuming, and after a few reasons I realise why. Dixon’s writing needs no adornment. The images rise up from the pages to evoke an inner landscape that, while whimsical, is lit by a stark and unforgiving light. By stark, I mean a sparseness of metre and economy of words. By unforgiving, I mean in tone, in meaning and in style.
Speaking of style. This might be taken as a reductionist observation, but certain things like attention to line length, use of colour and metaphor remind me of poets like William Carlos Williams and H. D. Which lead on through logical progression to the Modernist movement in general, the Imagists in particular.
Lines such as “Address: / (stunned blue beneath a collapsed / skylight and folded / into so much rescued wrapping paper,” and, “When morning comes, I’ll be there / Sewn into the neck of your undershirt. / Breathing,” are all spare simplicity and offhanded control. Dixon doesn’t need long, overly clever interpolations or convoluted, emotionally weighted similes.
I have been carrying this book around with me for months. The lines sink in slowly, giving up their subtler narratives measure by measure. It is not a book that can be gulped down and digested—you must wait, and taste it first.