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Barr, Rebecca Anne
W. S. Graham and epistolarity
In Press
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W. S. Graham poetry epistolarity letters
Letter form provides modernist poet W. S. Graham with a means of structuring the communicative attempts of poetry. Conventionally associated with an immediacy and intimacy approximating that of speech, the letter form also foregrounds textuality, literariness and the risk inherent in communication itself. This essay argues that Graham's use of epistolarity serves to maintain a tension between the personal and the impersonal, the abstract and the emotional, his epistolary forms emphasising the persistence of isolation and loneliness. Graham deliberately exploits the emotional and affective connotations of the personal letter in order to expose the difficulties of people ‘touching’ through language, gently undermining the expectation that real presence might be achieved.    
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