Robert Dickinson

Micrographia (2010)


Dickinson’s poems deliver the impact of myths … in styles which combine craft, intelligence and humanity.

Jackie Wills

Robert Dickinson’s poetry crackles with energy and wit; utterly clear-sighted, it’s also compassionate, exploring the emotional territory of those on the margins — oddballs, conspiracy theorists, and, in the extraordinary ‘Biopic,’ a character whose life is kaleidoscoped into a series of startling visual memories who asks us to ‘Look closely at my hands./ However much they tremble, they are young.’ Sensuous and surprising, these poems are constantly probing the possibilities of language — and the question of what it means to be human.

Catherine Smith

ISBN: ISBN 978-1-906742-12-6 Category:

Praise and Poems

‘Where does it hurt? In Battersea’ — so begins this exceptional collection in surreal tone. For those who have followed Dickinson’s work on the page, stage, and radio (Poetry Please), Micrographia has been worth the wait.

This is a riveting collection, lit throughout by a balisage of startling imagism calibrated with antiquity: ‘…we remember Saint Euphorion// sweeter than attar of roses’ (‘Proofs’). Scholastic acedia is counterbalanced with a papyri-dry wit that makes these poems compulsively readable and anything but fustian. The caustic ‘The fall of Troy’ tramples Homeric hyperbole, while the Pythonesque ‘The Apocalypse re-enactment society’ drops in on a celestial Sealed Knot who restage historic military massacres to alleviate eternity. History, ancient and recent, is Dickinson’s satirical stomping ground, which he roves round with a zoom lens. This filmic motif occasionally reels in cameos from cult cinema: Travis Bickle crops up allusively in ‘The Taxi Driver Year’, while ‘I am a bullet’ cocks a snook at a Mockney James Fox in Performance. ‘Locus desperatus’ satirises Austenite archetypes of period drama: ‘…a tableau of Regency daughters:/ Aphasia, Agnosia, and pallid Alexia’. But it is in ‘Biopic’ that Dickinson’s director’s eye swells into full panoramic scope with a life recounted via peripatetic cuts and flashbacks: ‘…a woman I’ve never seen/ reaching down in soft focus. Memories. Details’. Aphoristic captions abound — ‘Hackney will pass for Vienna’, ‘the jump cut of August’, ‘Politics as broken windows’— and there’s a bashfully English trope in which a girl pushes against him in a ‘period dress/ designed to restrict precisely this movement’. Armed with aphorism and crypticism, Dickinson turns past and present on their heads, infectiously. Now you’ve seen the trailer, read the full flick.

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