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Within Habit is the second book of poetry from Oli Hazzard, following 2012’s highly acclaimed Between Two Windows (Carcanet), winner of the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize.
John Ashbery, in his introductory note to the book, describes this ‘stunning set of prose puzzles’ as ‘exciting, necessary and new’.
Within Habit is a series of 20 texts – poems presented in the shape of prose, visually identical in format. Untitled, unnumbered, and unpaginated, they relate to each other in a process which runs forwards and backwards across the book, forming a circular sequence connected by fragments of repetition. Vertical lines are employed to mark divisions and connections between units, creating startling juxtapositions.
The book’s format draws attention to the idiosyncratic form of the texts through its use of a large font, blue print, and ample white space, allowing the design to enter into conversation with the text’s highly allusive, self-referential, and visual approach.