Abigail Parry's I Think We're Alone Now: reviews, interviews & Books of the Year

Abigail Parry's I Think We're Alone Now: reviews, interviews & Books of the Year


'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 second collection I Think We're Alone Now, was published by Bloodaxe Books in November 2023. It was shortlisted for both the T S Eliot Prize 2023 and the English-language Poetry category of the Wales Book of the Year Award 2024. The poems explore intimacy and failures of intimacy, and deal in pop music, etymology, surveillance equipment, church architecture and beetles. Scroll down to watch T S Eliot Prize videos of Abigail reading and talking about her work.

Her debut collection Jinx, published by Bloodaxe Books in March 2018, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2018 and for the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize 2019, and was named a Book of the Year in The New Statesman (Marina Warner), The Telegraph (Tristram Fane Saunders) and the Morning Star (Kate Wakeling).

'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, on behalf of the Wales Book of the Year 2024 judges
 

 

ONLINE REVIEW COVERAGE

Nation.Cymru, online 22 June 2024

Abigail Parry’s second collection I Think We're Alone Now was given an excellent review online in Nation.Cymru ahead of the winners of the Wales Book of the Year being announced at a ceremony in Caernarfon on the evening of 4 July. Abigail’s book is shortlisted for the English-language poetry category of Wales Book of the Year 2024.

‘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

https://nation.cymru/culture/wales-book-of-the-year-shortlist-review-i-think-were-alone-now-by-abigail-parry/
 

I Think We're Alone Now was given a wonderful review in Issue 12 of The Alchemy Spoon magazine, published June 2024.

'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

 

PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH ABIGAIL PARRY

Southword Poetry Podcast: Abigail Parry: I Think We’re Alone Now, online 23 April 2024

Abigail Parry was the guest poet on the April 2024 edition of the Southword Poetry Podcast from Munster Literature Centre.  Abigail was in conversation with host Clíona Ní Ríordáin and read poems from her two collections. A very lively, wide-ranging and thoughtful discussion.  The interview was preceded by a brief introductory conversation between Clíona Ní Ríordáin and James O'Leary, who had recommended Abigail Parry as guest poet for the podcast.

Abigail read her four ‘Marginal Glosses’ poems – all entitled ‘English-speaking learners’, along with ‘Speculum’, ‘In the dream of the cold restaurant’ and ‘The Fly-Dressers’ Guide’ from her second collection I Think We're Alone Now.  She was also asked to read ‘The Man Who’ from her debut Jinx.

Listen on Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/episode/3l3E0WivTmxLVtRCWa9dCb

Links to other podcast platforms here:
https://southword.buzzsprout.com/share

 

US REVIEW COVERAGE

Think We're Alone Now was one of seven collections recommended for the February 2024 edition of Literary Hub.

'[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 (New books to read in February)

https://lithub.com/faith-witches-grief-and-smoke-new-poetry-books-to-read-in-february/

 

T S ELIOT PRIZE READINGS, 14 JANUARY 2024
 
Audio extracts from the T S Eliot Prize Readings at London's Southbank Centre were broadcast on BBC Radio 3's The Verb on Friday 19 January 2024, introduced by Ian McMillan, who also hosted the event at the Royal Festival Hall on 14 January.  Listen via BBC Sounds here
 
Jane Clarke was introduced by Ian McMillan at 21:00 and read her poems 'Dressing My Mother for Her Grandson's Wedding', 'Spalls' and 'June'. Abigail Parry was introduced at 30:22 and read her poem 'In the dream of the cold restaurant'.  The full T S Eliot Prize Readings can now be seen via the video below.

All ten poets shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize 2023 read from their shortlisted collections.  Abigail Parry is introduced by Ian McMillan at 1:22:45. Fellow Bloodaxe poet Jane Clarke's reading followed immediately after Abigail's and is introduced at 1:35:19.

 

T S ELIOT PRIZE FEATURES

The Daily Telegraph, T S Eliot Prize 2023, online 10 January, in print Saturday 13 January 2024

Sean O’Brien's feature review of the ten titles shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize 2023 ran as a double-page spread in the print edition of The Telegraph on 13 January.  Jane Clarke’s third collection A Change in the Air and Abigail Parry’s second collection I Think We're Alone Now are two of the runners and riders whose collections were reviewed.

‘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)

Available online in full by subscription.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/what-to-read/ts-eliot-prize-shortlist-2024-review/

 

The Times Literary Supplement, Friday 12 January 2024

An excellent review of I Think We're Alone Now ran in the in brief section of the TLS of 12 January.

‘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

In print. Almost all of the review can be read online – only the words ‘like electric currents’ are not visible without subscription.
https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/i-think-were-alone-now-abigail-parry-book-review-lenni-sanders/

 

BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2023

‘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)

https://www.walesartsreview.org/best-welsh-poetry-of-2023/

 

Wales Arts Review, Books of the Year, online 24 November 2023

Abigail Parry's T S Eliot Prize-shortlisted second collection I Think We're Alone Now was chosen by Katie Munnik as her book of the year in Wales Arts Review’s feature in which writers and commentators choose their favourite books 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)

https://www.walesartsreview.org/books-2023-writers-recommendations/
 

London Review Bookshop, John’s Books of the Year 2023, online 24 November 2023

I Think We're Alone Now was chosen by John Clegg as one of his books of the year in his London Review Bookshop booklist.

‘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)

https://www.londonreviewbookshop.co.uk/collections/christmas-2023/our-books-of-the-year/john-s-books-of-the-year-2023


Broken Sleep Books, Books of the Year 2023, online 2 January 2024

Broken Sleep Books asked a selection of their authors for their favourite poetry books of 2023. Three 2023 Bloodaxe titles were chosen for the feature. 

‘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

https://www.brokensleepbooks.com/post/books-of-the-year-2023

 

T S ELIOT PRIZE NEWSLETTER

The T S Eliot Prize newsletter featuring Abigail Parry's second collection I Think We're Alone Now was mailed out to subscribers on 21 December 2023.  It included a link to John Field’s excellent review of her book, plus links to Readers’ Notes and to videos in which Abigail was filmed reading from and talking about her collection.  Scroll down to watch two of the videos.

Read the newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/tseliotprize/abigailparry?e=e362747125

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

Read the full review on the T S Eliot Prize website: https://tseliot.com/prize/the-t-s-eliot-prize-2023/reviews/#abigail-parry

Videos featuring Abigail Parry reading poems from and talking about her book have been posted on the T S Eliot Prize YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8VHSOl9gbqnw2POlnNgRwYB-u9y6WkFf

 

 

T S ELIOT PRIZE VIDEO REVIEW

Gabrielle Tse reviews Abigail Parry's I Think We're Alone Now, which is shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize 2023. Gabrielle took part in the Young Critics Scheme, a joint project from the T. S. Eliot Prize and The Poetry Society. Ten 18-25 year olds were asked to review the texts on this year’s T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist, following a series of online workshops.

 

ABIGAIL PARRY T S ELIOT PRIZE WRITERS' NOTES

Poetry School, T S Eliot Writers’ Notes, online 10 January 2024

This year, alongside the usual Readers’ Notes, the T S Eliot Prize and the Poetry School are collaborating on a set of Writers’ Notes for the shortlisted collections. These are educational resources for poets looking to develop their practice and learn from some of contemporary poetry’s most exciting and accomplished voices. Abigail Parry’s fascinating piece about her creative process went online on 10 January 2024.

‘I guess I think of poems as developing a kind of internal logic as you write them. At some point, everything feels finished on its own terms. Nothing else is going to happen to it: all its flaws and inclusions are part of its design.’ – Abigail Parry

https://poetryschool.com/theblog/abigail-parry-t-s-eliot-writers-notes-i-think-were-alone-now/

 

POETRY BOOK OF THE MONTH IN THE TELEGRAPH

The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 18 November 2023

Abigail Parry's T S Eliot Prize-shortlisted second collection I Think We're Alone Now was very well reviewed by Ian Sansom as a half-page Poetry Book of the Month feature in The Telegraph on 18 November.

'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

Available to read via PressReader:
https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph-review/20231118/281702619448397

Available online by subscription (all 11 Poetry Books of the Month so far in 2023, including Selima Hill’s Women in Comfortable Shoes, which was featured in July):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/what-to-read/best-poetry-books-month-2023-reviews/

 

ONLINE REVIEW & FEATURE COVERAGE FOR ABIGAIL PARRY

The Friday Poem, online 5 January 2024

I Think We're Alone Now was reviewed in detail by Isabelle Thompson in The Friday Poem.

‘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

https://thefridaypoem.com/i-think-were-alone-now-abigail-parry/

 

DURA (Dundee University Review of the Arts), online 7 December 2023

Abigail Parry's I Think We're Alone Now was well reviewed online in DURA as part of their set of reviews of titles shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize 2023.

‘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

https://dura-dundee.org.uk/2023/12/07/i-think-were-alone-now/

 

The Friday Poem, Bookshelf, online 1 December 2023

Abigail Parry's poetry was recommended by Nell Prince in her tour of her poetry bookshelf for The Friday Poem of 1 December. 

‘… my bookshelf wouldn’t be complete without Abigail Parry. When poetry is at its best, it tends to change your life. Jinx, Parry’s first collection, certainly changed mine. I am haunted by its poems. Lines and fragments from them have rooted deep in my memory.’ – Nell Prince, The Friday Poem (Bookshelf)

https://thefridaypoem.com/nell-prince-bookshelf/

 

ONLINE REVIEW COVERAGE

Buzz Magazine Wales, online 29 November 2023

Abigail Parry's second collection I Think We're Alone Now was given a brilliant review at the top of Mab Jones’s New Poetry for November feature in Buzz Magazine

‘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

https://www.buzzmag.co.uk/mab-jones-poetry-column-november-2023-nigel-jenkins-abigail-parry/
 

~~~~

T S ELIOT PRIZE VIDEOS

Abigail Parry talks about her work

Abigail talks about her work and her shortlisted collection I Think We're Alone Now.

 

Abigail Parry reads 'In the dream of the cold restaurant'

Abigail reads 'In the dream of the cold restaurant' from her shortlisted collection I Think We're Alone Now

~~~~~

Just Another Poet: Abigail Parry, 15 December 2023

Taz Rahman interviews the 2023 T S Eliot Prize shortlisted poet Abigail Parry for the Just Another Poet series. Abigail reads her poems 'In the dream of the cold restaurant', 'Axonometric', 'Whatever happend to Rosemarie?', 'The Fly-Dressers' Guide' and 'Some remarks on the General Theory of Relativity' and speaks in depth about her work.

 

LIVE-STREAMED LAUNCH, 21 NOVEMBER 2023

Tuesday 21 November 2023, 7pm, Live-streamed launch reading by Matthew Caley, MacGillivray and Abigail Parry

Bloodaxe's November launch reading by Matthew Caley, MacGillivray and Abigail Parry celebrating the publication of their new poetry books was livestreamed on 21 November 2023. They were reading live and discussing their work with each other and with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley.

This Bloodaxe launch event is now available on this YouTube page: https://youtube.com/live/XmwI5yCOU60.  A brilliant evening of poetry and discussion. Abigail Parry read last in each set. 

~~~~~

 

 

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 2023.  Strong language warning.


[20 November 2023]


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