Arc Publications logo

50 years at the cutting edge of poetry publishing

“A meeting point for poets of all latitudes”
— Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Ai! Ai! Pianissimo

by Astrid Alben

Astrid Alben is a new and original voice in English poetry, serious and uncompromising. Innovative and energetic, this is Alben's first collection.

... the images are often superb ("immobile words / swinging between them like a jade rat")... The narrative voice gains power, and moves from acknowledging beauty to commanding it.

Times Literary Supplement, March 2012

"Alben is a new and original voice in English poetry, serious and uncompromising. I look forward to how her work may develop and how it may influence the way in which poetry is written in future."

R V Bailey, Envoi, June 2012

Through their vivid photographic narratives, Astrid Alben's poems shift and ripple, detonating moments of powerful understanding and suggestion as they go. Images pass and move on, voices cut in, the observed world echoes and strobes. These are the poetic equivalent of physical theatre — dynamic, subtle in their detail and movement, thought-provoking and celebratory.

Jane Draycott

These are poems of the subtlest, most unsettling kind, alive to the paradoxes of intimacy and estrangement, of desire and the distance growing at its heart. The experience of reading them is anything but claustrophobic, even when the subject is just that, because of their tingling hyper-alertness to twists of the language, shifts of tone and implication, to stray facts and images which you might call surreal except that their strangeness feels not sought but found. Beneath their shifting surfaces there runs an undertow of human feelings anyone might recognize — anyone, that is, who dares observe their world with this acuity.

Philip Gross

Ai! Ai! Pianissimo is surely a launchpad for Astrid Alben's star quality, and a worthy one at that.

James Byrne

978-1906570-72-9 (pbk)
978-1906570-73-6 (hbk)

Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
Pages: 80
Published November 2011

» About Astrid Alben