Erasure and gift: Alan Loney’s prose poetry

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Characteristics of the prose poem emphasised by Stephen Fredman include a focus on language for its own sake, openness and the employment of the long poem. These facets are strongly present in Alan Loney’s prose poem sequences ‘The erasure tapes’ (1994) and ‘Gifts’ (2005). The paper argues that these concepts are intimately connected. It evaluates the link between prose poetry and postmodernism and between language and the idea of open writing as it relates to postmodernism and its appropriation of the long poem. The erasure in question in Loney’s masterwork could be that of memory, meaning, or connection; yet meaning and connectivity are handled differently in the long poem form, and build sense and connection in different ways, through juxtaposition, accumulation and the questioning of perspective in the individual’s response to language and its unavoidable wedding with memory. The prose poem offers a diversity of tools and structures, via the sentence and sentence fragment, supremely useful for practitioners of poetry who wish to extend their range.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalTEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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