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I Think We’re Alone Now | Bloodaxe Books

Abigail Parry

I Think We’re Alone Now

Abigail Parry

Publication Date : 16 Nov 2023

ISBN: 9781780376813

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2023

Shortlisted for English-language Poetry Award (Wales Book of the Year Award 2024)

I Think We’re Alone Now was supposed to be a book about intimacy: what it might look like in solitude, in partnership, and in terms of collective responsibility. Instead, the poems are preoccupied with pop music, etymology, surveillance equipment and cervical examination, church architecture and beetles. Just about anything, in fact, except what intimacy is or looks like.

So this is a book that runs on failure, and also a book about failures: of language to do what we want, of connection to be meaningful or mutual, and of the analytic approach to say anything useful about what we are to one another.  Here are abrupt estrangements and errors of translation, frustrations and ellipses, failed investigations. And beetles.

I Think We’re Alone Now is Abigail Parry's second collection. Her first collection, Jinx (Bloodaxe Books, 2018), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2018 and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize 2019.

'Abigail Parry’s I Think We’re Alone Now holds a transformative power as it is filtered through the idea of solitude. Parry is a lyricist who is attentive to the physicality of imagery, word choice and sound. Poems are saturated with images of sonic texture or a ‘whine in the word’. Ever observant Parry forces us to fixate on playful associations with pop music, film and footnotes.' – Paul Muldoon (with Sasha Dugdale and Denise Saul), T.S. Eliot Prize 2023 judges' comment

'Abigail Parry's I Think We’re Alone Now reveals a profound and original metaphysical imagination that examines the enigma of intimacy and its paradoxes. Impressive in its wealth of vocabularies, the poet's vision is razor sharp, with oceanic, but playful depths.  This is a multi-layered collection to keep re-reading. Noone in contemporary poetry writes like Abigail Parry.' – Pascale Petit, Wales Book of the Year Award 2024, on behalf of the judges

‘With I Think We’re Alone Now, Abigail Parry follows her flamboyant debut in Jinx (2018) with yet more pyrotechnics as she sets out to investigate the nature of intimacy.  Each poem is a freshly conceived and high-spirited assault, outwitting the reader’s expectations in pursuit of uncomfortable home truths.’ – Christopher Reid, Sunday Independent (Books of 2023)

'I Think We’re Alone Now is Parry’s second collection. Only published in November, it has been shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious poetry award – the TS Eliot Prize. Parry herself defines the book as running of failure – as her intention was for it to be about intimacy. Instead, the poems range from pop music, to etymology, surveillance equipment to cervical examination and church articles – but yet, intimacy is found in the reading experience and each poem’s genuine honesty.' – Wales Arts Review (Best Welsh Poetry of 2023)

‘The book I’d like to recommend is Abigail Parry’s I Think We’re Alone Now. I first heard Abigail Parry perform her work at this year’s Penarth Literary Festival Poetry Showcase and was caught by her vivid voice and the intelligence of her rhythm and clarity.  She can shock you and skin you with her wit, yet her poems feel strangely merciful, cleverly observant, and filled with references to everything from Rilke and Shakespeare to Richie Cordell and Radiohead.’ – Katie Munnik, Wales Arts Review (Books of the Year 2023)

‘Abigail Parry continues to write about anything she turns her eye on with cheerily nonchalant sprezzatura;’ – John Clegg, London Review Bookshop (Books of the Year 2023)

‘Brilliantly realised and very, very, very close to the eye. A major book.’ – Patrick Davidson Roberts, Broken Sleep Books (Books of the Year 2023), on I Think We’re Alone Now

‘Abigail Parry’s I Think We’re Alone Now is witty and accomplished, revealing the imagination at serious play rather than passively enduring events and feelings. Parry explores the idea of poetry as a game, but one whose outcome is to deliver the player to the chill of mortality … It’s very funny and very dark. She’s a metaphysical poet: cosmology, sex, time and the subjunctive mood are all summoned to the page, revealing and withholding themselves by turns. More than this, Parry’s grasp of form is a delight, like watching a fly-fisher playing a lure on the water until the quarry surrenders itself and is completed in doing so. It’s a great pleasure to encounter work that uses the full keyboard like this. Parry’s is the outstanding collection here.’ – Sean O’Brien, The Telegraph (reviewing the 2023 T S Eliot Prize shortlist)

I Think We’re Alone Now is a tour de force. Parry’s poems burst off the page, playing with marginalia, footnotes, references to a broad range of culture. It's joyful and, when it needs to, it displays a mastery of formal structures. Parry's at the top of her game.’ – John Field, T S Eliot Prize 2023 Reviewer

‘Abigail Parry takes a sample of Humanity, mixes it up in her petri dish and then puts on her goggles, casts her eye on it under her microscope. And Aha! Here you go, guys […] If I Think We’re Alone Now wins Wales Book of The Year, it would be a fair reward for such an important body of work.’ – Rhian Elizabeth, Nation.Cymru

'What makes this collection thrilling is Parry's relentless and immense curiosity, often signalled by her breaking into asides and parentheses ... for all its allusiveness and its continual sidelong glances, I Think We're Alone Now is entirely companionable.' – Ian Sansom, The Daily Telegraph (Poetry Book of the Month)

‘Beautiful, masterly rhythms are at work in this collection ... Sounds and symbols run through this work, animating it, like electric currents.' – Lennie Sanders, The Times Literary Supplement, on I Think We’re Alone Now

‘Shortlisted for this year’s T.S. Eliot Prize, this is a book which showcases Parry’s masterly grasp of some of the more challenging poetry principles: space, for one thing. Story, for another … there’s much to ponder, amuse, excite, and admire … as one reads this beetle-shiny, brilliantine, brain-bug of a book.’ – Mab Jones, Buzz Magazine

'It’s a reading experience like no other. Think verbal high octane rollercoaster ride, with unexpected phrases and vocabulary arriving at speed, and you’ll have some idea of the adventure Parry takes us on [...] This is a successful, entertaining book which covers a huge amount of ground with tremendous linguistic panache.' – Tamsin Hopkins, The Alchemy Spoon, on I Think We’re Alone Now

‘Abigail Parry’s second collection I Think We’re Alone Now is a complex, poly-voiced book which addresses a wide range of topics ... I Think We’re Alone Now offers a host, a crowd, of clamouring voices. It questions what makes an individual unique, what makes their life worthwhile.’ – Isabelle Thompson, The Friday Poem

‘These impressively, formally varied poems are precision-assembled, and there is something in each … which tells of meticulous planning, exacting execution and a mesmerising, unrelentingly creative mind.’ – Beth McDonagh, DURA on I Think We’re Alone Now

'A collection which looks through, around and beyond words, dissecting their "hinges and joints" in poems which are playfully skilful and intellectually rigorous in equal measure ... This is a collection dripping with the "flair / for the theatre", with words taking centre stage: a love song to language itself.' Shash Trevett, Poetry Book Society Winter Bulletin 2023, on I Think We’re Alone Now

'[A] mind attuned to “each mental irk and imp” lifts her poetry into an ironic bliss […] it holds the nervy, unnerving recognitions that make melancholia something apperceptive and beautiful.'  David Woo, Literary Hub, on I Think We’re Alone Now

'In Abigail Parry’s second collection, every aperture is haunted. These poems limn the spaces between vertigo and hyperextension, drawing then rethreading the needle through sites of forgetfulness and failure: are you unsure you heard that right? Listen again, Parry’s speakers exhort, scraping tines into the grooves of torch songs, scattering speculums and stereotaxic rats into the pages. What the poet pursues, and enacts through a formally blistering surgery of poetics, is nothing less than the upward ruination of the everyday: nothing exists that cannot be unspooled, unknotted, blasted open, wired shut. The body of this work promises blood, and brutality, and ridiculousness, plus every mistake anyone has ever made fletched through with gold. Run into its pages with every weapon you possess. None of them will be enough to keep you unmarked for good.' – Shivanee Ramlochan

Abigail Parry reads ‘Axonometric’ from I Think We’re Alone Now for the T.S. Eliot Prize readings series.

Abigail Parry reads ‘In the dream of the cold restaurant’ from I Think We’re Alone Now for the T.S. Eliot Prize readings series.

Abigail Parry reads ‘Speculum’ from I Think We’re Alone Now for the T.S. Eliot Prize readings series.

Abigail Parry talks about her collection I Think We’re Alone Now for the T.S. Eliot Prize readings series.

Abigail Parry: I Think We’re Alone Now

Abigail Parry reads eight poems from I Think We’re Alone Now: ‘In the dream of the cold restaurant’, ‘Some remarks on the General Theory of Relativity’, ‘Speculum’, ‘Whatever happened to Rosemarie?’, ‘The Fly Dressers’ Guide’, ‘Giallo’, ‘The brain of the rat in stereotaxic space’ and ‘It’s the lark that sings so out of tune’. Neil Astley filmed her reading from her new collection at her home in Cardiff in May 2023 ahead of the book’s publication in November.


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BOOKS BY Abigail Parry


Abigail Parry


Publication Date : 29 Mar 2018

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