Poetry Book Society Recommendation
Shortlisted for both the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize 2013
Confer is a book between two cities – London and Paris – with detours via rural and small-town England, drunkenness and death camps in Bavaria, the American absurd and the lost libraries of the Roman Empire. It contains love and lust poems, variations on Baudelaire and conversations with Nietzsche and Auden.
This impressive debut collection by a young poet already well-known for his innovative, highly musical poetry draws its energy from an interplay between melody and intellect. Ahren Warner’s poems seek to amplify the effect of our common experiences and to attenuate the everyday within a matrix of philosophy and art, language and its intervals.
‘In these poems, Mozart rubs shoulders with Hesiod, Cranach with Picabia, Nietzsche with Fitzgerald, Rodin with Rochegrosse. But what animates this first full collection is the constant and beguiling presence of the central character - arch-flâneur, would-be mauvais garçon, Lincolnshire small-town escapee, irreverent scholar - picking his way through these crowded streets, savouring his impressions of all that he encounters and inviting the reader to join him. Ahren Warner has almost invented a new kind of Fin de siècle’ – Annie Freud
‘Even before this first collection, Ahren Warner has become an influential poet, with his trademark tabulations and his unlikely mix of youthful humour and academic nous. Confer confers upon him the status of a central figure in a new generation of British poets’ – Roddy Lumsden