Author: Alli Warren
Publisher: City Lights Books (2020)
The third full-length collection from Bay Area poet Alli Warren, Little Hill comprises seven long poems written with propulsive prosody in a daybook fashion, examining our present, politically charged moment. These poems are at once energetic and contemplative, intimate and direct, as Warren focuses her attention on capitalism, gender, love, inequality, and resistance. Despite the dystopian now, Warren finds promise in the smallest human instances of tenderness, ecological connection, and political solidarity. Little Hill is about learning to live and love in the 21st century while not shying away from all there is to struggle against.
"In Little Hill Alli Warren’s principle method is articulation of exquisite units of speech (thought) that, maintaining separation, are capable of connection. The line might be a sentence or a part of one … I mean a delicious sense of grammatical distinctness is maintained. The poet, also a lone unit, seems to exist less in relation than as that lone one, condemning this hard world with its villain work and elusive hierarchies. The language is precise, lush, unexpected and often thrilling. Articulation would seem to be the true other, or maybe nature is. The book is gift more than condemnation, though as the latter it’s unsparing. Still, it’s a gift."
"The number of gasps and everything else gets lost in the concentration of Little Hill. Alli Warren keeps company with those rare poets whose every new book is their best. 'This is an old machine with a pulley / It makes music work,' Warren writes, reworking the ancient technology of poetry to a shine! Dear Poet, thank you for the wow WOW wowing!"
"Reading Alli Warren’s Little Hill, I find it incredible that amidst the relentless circulation of capital and commodities—and despite attempts to make all life yield to the logics of extraction, work, accumulation, and the entrepreneurial self—a remainder is created, that of poetry. Little Hill embodies a poetics of radical uncertainty, one that attends to its horrific condition of possibility and is produced through the unmooring catastrophes that define our present moment: the destruction of the earth, mass imprisonment, late-capitalism—the litany does not end there. 'I saw the death of the earth in a child’s toy,' she writes. Everywhere the speaker looks there is 'congealed shit, sometimes on sale.' Yet yearning, even as it is raised tentatively, is not crushed. In and against it all, a question is raised—the question of what it means to love in times of terror."