Writer Crush: Zoe Kingsley on Alli Warren


Poet Alli Warren. Photo credit: Andrew Kenower
Poet Alli Warren.
Photo credit: Andrew Kenower

Zoe Kingsley is a Norwich-based Suburban Review crew member from Melbourne. Her poetry has been published in Cosmonauts Avenue, The Bohemyth and is forthcoming in Powder Keg. A collaboration with TSR contributor and poet Eleanor Chandler (aka ‘the kid’) was published in Textual Practice last year. Most recently she performed a correspondence-based collaboration with fellow University of East Anglia (UEA) Masters graduate and poet Sohini Basak at the ‘Line by Line: Habits and Practices of Writing ’ conference at Shiv Nadar University.
She likes to collaborate—to say the least.


We asked her who she’s ‘crushing on’ (in a literary sense!) and why she is enamoured with their work


Who am I ‘crushing on’?


Well…earlier this year I finally got around to a poetry collection that was recommended to me by my dissertation adviser whilst studying my MA at the UEA last year. And damn, from the first page I fell hard and fast for the poet and poetry.


Here Come the Warm Jets, published by City Lights Books as part of their ‘City Lights Spotlight’ series, is the latest collection from Oakland, California-based poet-babe Alli Warren.


Her poems are compact and tight, with turns of textu(r)al disjunction and synthesis. There’s an almost ascetic quality to her lyricism, conveyed through an interrogative rigor and persistent focus on collectives, a relentless recycling of ‘I’s, ‘you’s and ‘we’s. There’s always an addressee, I feel, with each poem, and a sense of ‘being-for’ an-other, which appeals to me both as a poet and editor. In other words, an engagement with community as well as creation of community through a body of poems, poems which evoke presences through pronouns, nicknames, shared references and sense of place and environment, both public and private.


Warren’s advocacy for inclusion and exploration of difference within her poetry, and her sheer ability to transpose the self through writing, is phenomenal. It’s political and personal, historically-embedded and contemporary: a delicious and playful anachronism. It is through this anachronism that Warren puts forward the argument that archaic feudalistic concerns—of property, economics and status—are relevant, current and active in 21st century capitalist society.


This is a crush that will take a while to recover from, and it is infectious no doubt!