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Zonal Reviews

Zonal by Don Paterson


Don Paterson

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Poetry, Non-fiction
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 5 Mar 2020
ISBN: 9780571338245

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.

5 stars out of 5
Kate Kellaway
19 Apr 2020

"rich, masked musings on midlife crisis"

The idea of the collection – which sounds barmy at first – is of the midlife crisis as a permanent state of mind, akin to being marooned on some godawful planet where your other half is likely, at least some of the time, to be an alien. This, I thought, after taking a brief look at the poems, has to be self-indulgent baloney. But as soon as I settled down to read these poems properly, I felt different: 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 – a dab hand at form (40 Sonnets won the 2015 Costa poetry prize) – returning with eloquence and vim to rhythms of speech. And it is worth adding that, although The Twilight Zone is brilliant, you need not be acquainted with it to enjoy the poems: they speak for themselves.


4 stars out of 5
Stuart Kelly
19 Mar 2020

"It still keeps the philosophical rigour of previous works"

You do not have to be an aficionado of The Twilight Zone to “get” Paterson’s book, although for those of us who are, it is a super-sized Easter egg chock-full of winks, raised eyebrows, glances and clever re-tunings. Formally, the poems are something of a divergence from his rather more tightly structured previous work. Here, the lines extend with a kind of hectic abandon, so much so that they feel like behind yarned to by an exceptionally loquacious individual.