STRESSING THE ESSENTIAL: This little volume of twenty-five mainly philosophical poems, written during 1982, should confirm, more than anything, that I had considerably deepened my approach to and concept of poetry since the early 1970s (see Dosshouse Blues), and the result should not prove displeasing to anyone who would prefer to see me, as I myself do, primarily as a philosopher (albeit a self-taught one) who occasionally dabbles in other things, poetry not excepted. Doubtless the fact that I am an Irish citizen who, brought to England as a young child, has spent the greater part of his life in exile from his native country ... has something to do with this paradoxical state-of-affairs, since one is often exposed to contrary influences and predilections, both natural and artificial, neither of which greatly ingratiates one to less complex or, perhaps I should say, paradoxically confused people? Be that as it may, I accept that I have, at various times in my life, been prepared to dabble in poetry, even if from a philosophic rather than a strictly poetic standpoint, since the adoption of alternative genres makes for variety both in the presentation and conception of one's thought, and that can be most beneficial to the writer himself, who could otherwise bog down in a given mould and grow stale or bored, as the case may be. STRESSING THE ESSENTIAL, the first of four collections of philosophical poems written in successive years, precluded me from experiencing such a stultifying fate, and was thus of indirect benefit to my philosophical will. It was not, however, any the less easy to write!
SPIRITUAL INTIMATIONS: Comprised of thirty-four poems, this volume of verse is slightly freer, overall, than the previous one, and ranges across a wide variety of topics ... from politics and sex to literature and money ... in what I prefer to regard as a loosely poetic way, though not one devoid of stylistic methodology or thematic consistency!
THE MODERN DEATH: Dating from 1984, this volume of forty-four poems continues in the free-verse style of its predecessor, albeit the verse is at all times prevented from degenerating into prose through the application of a methodological consistency which continues to favour the definite/indefinite article at the expense of lesser words. More significant of this collection is its greater concern with metaphysics, or subatomic theories, which, though far from definitive, enabled me to dig beneath the surface of my themes to what I hoped would be their spiritual depths. In retrospect, I can see how much ground I still had to cover, or perhaps I should say unearth, in order to arrive at the Truth. But this was still a significant stage in my progress as a metaphysician, even if it took a poetic turn.
TREES: It seems that I add ten poems to each new volume, for this one has some fifty-four poems, dating from 1985, which carry on, both stylistically and thematically, from approximately where those in THE MODERN DEATH leave off, with, if anything, a slightly deeper metaphysical and ideological bias. The title derives, as usual, from one of the poems, and has to be read to be believed!
Copyright © 1982-2012 John O’Loughlin