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.
'Theatrical, toxic and oddly gorgeous… Warner moves from playful social observation, through reflections on memory and artifice, to a near-Baudelairean spleen, his games with language and ideas as serious in their investigations of the given world as any philosophy.' – John Burnside, Poetry Book Society Bulletin
'Witty and wide-ranging… Ahren Warner has a claim to be the "poet's poet" of his generation. Even in apparently domestic and personal guise, he's a writer whose work conveys voluptuous but intelligent delight in language and technique.' – Carol Rumens, Guardian