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Two Poems
& One Animation 

Astrid ALBEN 
& Zuzanna PEDRASIK

from Plainspeak (prototype, 2019)

Plainspeak is the highly anticipated second collection by Astrid Alben, following her acclaimed debut Ai! Ai! Pianissimo (Arc Publications, 2011). In these startling poems, readers will experience Alben’s unorthodox alter-ego-thinking-out-louder approach with the same exhilaration as they might engage with art or jazz. The poems in Plainspeak deal with place, ancestral ties, solitude, flight, insomnia and the embattled absurdities of daily life as Alben plays with formal boundaries, linguistic identity and the lyrical poetic voice, writing with rhythmic vitality and visual imagination. The poems tell multiple narratives whilst retaining the freedom of abstraction; they are supple and precise, each one an installation evoking different aspects of a particular theme. Hotel are thrilled to support this publication, and present two works by Alben and a corresponding animation—responding to Alben’s poetry—by Zuzanna Pedrasik.

Plainspeak was published by protototype on November 18th, 2019 and a sequence of poems from the collection are also included in
Hotel #6—buy the book from the publisher here; to order a copy of Hotel #6—or subscribe to the magazine—see here.

Collateral Damage

Poet hadn’t yet made Earth the jobless vigorously typed
not yet news bulletins absolutes weren’t yet accident prone

lunatics all wore the same garments no one cockgobbled
a shame not yet sodomites thought love declarations were

daylight saving lies coughed politely from the wings. Words
standing still before Poet stood still a harelipped giant bowing

his head before the mountain in so doing paid homage
to the mountain patiently rivers down its sides.

The First People

 for Marlene Dumas

Your credibility is shot through the opposite
beautiful smearkisses on every bit of I’m asleep

to the question are you asleep or no awake to the same
lullaby then asks incredulously really awake?

Rudderless coochy coo tumbles through a bottomless
process like colony collapse everything rotting

dehydrating & disintegrating decomposes the universe
no end a colossal baby trying to climb out of its cunt.

Astrid ALBEN is a poet, editor and translator. Her debut collection Ai! Ai! Pianissimo was published by Arc in 2011, introducing ‘a new and original voice in English poetry, serious and uncompromising’ (R.V. Bailey). Alben’s poems, translations and essays are widely published, including in the Times Literary Supplement and the Best of British Poetry Anthology 2015. To hear her poems visit, Granta, LASER@CSM or the BBC Radio 4 ‘Four Thought’ podcast. Alben is co-founder and artistic director of the arts and sciences initiative PARS; curator of site-specific events that are a mixture of theatre, art installation and scientific experiment; and editor of the Findings on series published by Lars Müller Publications. She is trustee (and acting CEO) of the Poetry Translation Centre

Zuzanna Pedrasik is a filmmaker and animator who has graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in 2018. Her work incorporates stop motion technique in a playful and experimental way. 


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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