Alan Loney had his first book of poems published in 1971 and began printing in 1974. He was co-winner of the poetry prize in the New Zealand Book Awards in 1977, Literary Fellow at the University of Auckland in 1992, and Honorary Fellow of the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne 2002-2006. He was Convener of the Conference on the History of the Book in New Zealand at University of Auckland 1995. Loney has published eleven books of poetry, and eight books of prose with a recent emphasis on the nature of the book. Fine editions of his work have been issued by Granary Books, The Janus Press, Barbarian Press, Red Dragonfly Press, Pear Tree Press and The Holloway Press. Formulations of Loney's thinking about the relations between poetry and typography have appeared with Cuneiform Press in Meditatio: The Printer Printed: Manifesto; The Printing of a Masterpiece published by Black Pepper Press; and Each New Book, issued by Peter Koch at The Codex Foundation. A short account of Loney's printerly life and a checklist of his first fifty printed books can be found in The Private Library, Winter 2007, and his most recent book of poems is Day's Eye (Rubicon Press, Canada 2008). He was Printer in Residence at the University of Otago for 2008, and an exhibition of his books was held Sept-Oct 2008 at the Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand. Loney's printing press is Electio Editions. www.electioeditions.com
'Crankhandle is the latest part of an ongoing Notebooks series, the first part of which was published as Sidetracks: Notebooks 1976–1991 (Auckland University Press 1998). Between Sidetracks and Crankhandle comes a longer unpublished section, Melbourne Journal: Notebooks 1998–2003, begun when I first came to Australia. From the beginning, these writings were never seen as notes or sketches towards poems that were yet to be fully realised – each entry was intended to be as finished an act of writing as any other, longer, individual work.
'Over the nearly forty years of this endeavour, there have of course been gaps, but the Notebooks provide a way for me to be quickly attentive to my environment, and to circumstances of wherever I might happen to be sitting, standing, waiting, travelling at any time. Perhaps one could speak of the individual pieces as ‘fragments’, but they are not fragments in the way that ancient Greek poetry has come to us on torn, worn, eaten, half-destroyed bits of papyrus. If these works are fragments, then each of Ezra Pound’s cantos are also fragments, placed against the totality of all poetry, from all over the planet, and from throughout recorded world history. In this sense, fragments are all we have, and will ever have. If some are very long and some very short, then that is simply how things are.