The four books of poetry that make up this quartet were written during 1982-5, at a time when John O'Loughlin had rekindled his interest in poetry from a standpoint partial to what he then called 'collectivized literature'. Such literature was intended to embrace as many genres in one volume or project as one could manage, effectively doing away with the distinctions between different types of books based on genre differentials, and therefore he felt obliged to return to his literary 'first love', abandoned since the early 1970s, for the purpose of ensuring that his approach to 'collectivization' wasn't just prosaic or philosophic but also, to a degree, poetic. In retrospect, John O'Loughlin found that his general development had tended towards philosophy and that the poems were less strictly poetic, or discursively descriptive of apparent phenomena, than philosophic in character, with a marked predilection for the essence of things. Also he eventually decided that collectivization right across the genre board, so to speak, wasn't a particularly good or viable idea, since there was sometimes a conflict of interest, and sometimes one genre was pretty much indistinguishable from another in terms of style and content anyway, which slightly invalidated the whole concept. So he eventually dismantled his liberally collectivized volumes, putting the short prose in with the short prose and the philosophy, irrespective of how many philosophical genres - essays, dialogues, aphorisms, maxims - were involved, in with the philosophy. The poetry ended-up in four separate volumes, most of which had originally been written together in any case, and this quartet is ample evidence as to the scope and quantity of his poetry during those years.
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About the Author
John O'Loughlin is a London-based author who was born in the Republic of Ireland of an English mother of mixed Irish descent and grew up first in Hampshire and then in Surrey, in south-eastern England, where he attended a variety of state schools. Most of his adult life has been spent at different addresses in the London Borough of Haringey, north of the River Thames, to which he moved from Surrey in 1974, and all but a few of his books have been written there, the majority of which, like this one, are of an intensely philosophical not to say metaphysical and even ideological nature.