Warner, Brother!

Meteoric rises are part of the poetry world, though rare.  Many seek positions of authority in the world of poetic writing, editing, and publishing - few get anywhere, for poetry is more crowded than a tube at 6 PM on a Friday; fewer if any have such authority thrust upon them; still, there is a visible sense of a changing guard in the appointment of the twenty-something British poet Ahren Warner as editor of Poetry London, one of the UK's leading poetry magazines.  He replaces Colette Bryce, award-winning Irish poet from the North of Ireland.

Warner has one book out, and another out very soon, both from Bloodaxe, both recognised by the Poetry Book Society (PBS), which is the closest to being anointed in the Vatican City of poetry that is London.  He has been championed in the past in terms of publishing and critical praise, by Roddy Lumsden and Fiona Sampson, two smart poet-critics not known to usually see eye to eye; and he has debated Oulipean strategies with Scottish poetry god Don Paterson of late very publicly.  Pursuing doctoral studies, living sometimes in Paris, and bringing back some ideas from the continent, Warner is one of the more talented younger British poets - though by no means the only one of genius or brilliance - one thinks of Emily Berry, or Luke Kennard, to name two I see as very significant.  Yet, his own rise is all the more striking for how singular it has been - he seems to combine the zoom of an Armitage with the nous of a MotionHe has arrived.

Unimpeded, welcome by all, and recognised as something special since his late teens, Warner now has a very important critical role to play in British poetry circles for the next few years.  It is as if Rimbaud had suddenly been invited into the Academie Francaise.  I am not sure it is wise for young poets to take on so much power so soon, for the sakes of their own careers as poets - the vocations of editor and poet often rub painfully against each other, like gum and dentures - but it is a breathtaking ascension, and it galvanizes the poetic community in the UK immediately.  Suddenly, we all look old in comparison, we editors of station and apparent import.  The new guard is avant us.  And around us, and now we all move forward, to see what the brave new Warner will do.
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