Published by Bloodaxe Books
Poetry Book Society Recommendation
Ahren Warner’s second collection of poems opens with the sequence Lutèce, te amo: a raw paean to the Paris it inhabits that flits between past and present and offers both adoration and horror in equal measure. Elsewhere, London 'licks and laps'; an anonymous man 'works his bones with a micro-plane' and translations of Baudelaire and Kojève rub shoulders with Kurt Cobain and ‘Little Lord Tory-Tit’.
More capricious, fleshly and darker than Warner’s previous work, Pretty culminates in Nervometer: thirteen poems hovering between a collage, translation and performance of Antonin Artaud’s Le Pèse-nerfs, which bring Pretty to a beautifully ugly end.
'Warner's poems, by turns funny and disconcerting and patently accomplished, set out their individual programme as originally as in any debut collection for some time. As with the first books of Thom Gunn, Ted Hughes or Craig Raine, it is immediately clear that something different is going on' – Alan Brownjohn, Sunday Times.
'… pizzazz, wit and – astonishing at his age – both technical assurance and a genuinely integrated humanity' – Fiona Sampson, Independent.
'Witty as well as erudite... Warner rows his own coracle, with his own deft motion' – Carol Rumens, Poetry Review.