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John O'Loughlin

The sixteen prose poems in this modest collection should ideally be suited to those who prefer their poetry prosy and mainly concerned with philosophical issues or, at any rate, with a philosophical treatment of issues and subjects which could be treated more frivolously if one lacked the intellectual machinery and moral insight with which to tackle them in this particular way. One suspects that John O'Loughlin’s first attempt at prose poems, back in ‘From the Beginning’ (1973-6), was more poetically frivolous than is to be found here; though that would be in keeping with his work of the period. Some ten years later and the results are arguably much more interesting, with perhaps a hint of Baudelairian influence in places, albeit apparently without conscious intention on the author’s part. However that may be, these prose poems are not essays, whatever appearances might suggest to the contrary, but painstakingly contrived pieces which never part company with the context in which they were conceived.

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