These poems serve as an introduction to Nicholas Hagger’s poetic works, which include nearly 1,500 poems, more than 300 classical odes, two poetic epics and five verse plays. They are grouped in two parts which reflect the two aspects of the fundamental theme of world literature outlined in his A New Philosophy of Literature: ‘Quest for the One’ and ‘Follies and Vices’. They present a quest for Reality along with moments of heightened consciousness in which the universe is seen as a unity, and condemn social follies and over 220 vices in terms of an implied virtue.
This selection of poems combines image and statement in the reconciling Universalist manner, and in different poems blends Romantic search and organic form with classical social attitudes, verbal precision and architectural structure. The poems cover five decades and include extracts from ‘The Silence’, which describes Freeman’s quest for Reality in Modernist style, ‘Archangel’ (a reflection on Communism following visits to China and the Soviet Union), poems written during a Dark Night of the Soul, glimpses of illumination and poems of social satire. There are also extracts from Hagger's verse plays. As can be seen from his ‘A Metaphysical in Marvell’s Garden’ Hagger derives his inspiration from the 17th-century Metaphysical poets and seeks to unite the later Augustan and Romantic traditions. This selection offers a chance to reappraise a poet whose material, accomplished technique and reconciling sensibility places him in the forefront of poets writing today.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Title: ‘Selected Poems’ Subtitle: ‘Quest for the One’ by Nicholas Hagger Paperback £19.99 Kindle format: £11.99: 459 pages Published by: O Books
In this compilation, Nicolas Hagger demonstrates his timeless visionary and story telling abilities. His collection of poems, ‘Quest for the One’, is enthralling and takes you on an historic and literary journey and weaved within the tapestry are the thoughts, experiences, beliefs and ideas of the author.
The preface succinctly gives the reader insight and prelude to the poems. Nicholas Hagger is a man of many skills and abilities, a historian, educator and writer, here skilfully and generously prepares us with enough information to whet our appetite before we venture through the myriad of verses of his mind and soul.
His passion for the literary works of the past and his insatiable thirst for truth and knowledge are apparent. He explores his own thoughts within a context of a variety of situations and is self aware on emotional, political and spiritual levels.
‘Quest for the One’ is not a book to read in one sitting, in a similar way, to get to know someone’s personality and character also takes time. The poems are fit for scholarly interpretation, which would sit well in an academic setting, in libraries to be shared with Philosophy, English Literature, History and Political Studies.
His spiritual depth and openness is impressive and like a true mystic, he courageously surrenders for all to ‘see’ his truth. Therefore, a true seer whose raison d'etre is not to keep wisdom and truth hidden, but like a demon possessed, or an angelic guide, Hagger captures the darkness and light of humanity and pours his heart into his prose poems to both inform and share what he witnesses. He shares his awakening from his youth to his later years, through ordinary and extraordinary experiences, with one important theme – to create order from chaos through poetry. He shows deep empathy for the afflictions of the heart and for the human condition and covers sensitive topics such as the loss of love and the bereavement of loved ones. In the preface he explains beautifully, ‘The soul shapes the fragments of the universe it perceives “into one” like an archaeologist piecing together the fragments of an unearthed urn. In contrast, the social ego’s reason analyses and dissects, sees distinctions rather than similarities, breaks the One into bits and is separated from the unitive vision’.
This book is a quest, and needs to be revered and read as if you have found a jewelled treasure. Once you read the preface you are in a better position to understand and appreciate the workings of the poet’s mind. What intrigued me was Hagger’s rich and diverse ‘secret’ life as a British agent which affected his personal life and helped to shape his thoughts about the ‘follies’ of society. There are some poems that will capture your heart more than others. For myself, these were of the loss of his mother. I also enjoyed ‘Chill Fingers’, ‘Beethoven’ and ‘Earth’, as these resonate with my own sentiments.
There is something for everyone in Hagger’s collection of poems, ‘Quest for the One’. To be more specific, I think this is for anyone who dares to try and ‘piece together fragments of an unearthed urn’ which is suggested within the text. I am a writer and poet and I too know the longings of the soul to question and seek answers that the heart puts forth. The mind often has a field day trying to reason and confuse the heart but the soul sits quietly waiting for its chance to intervene and expose the truth The soul is an exhibitionist and wants the world to know its secrets. Hagger does this most skilfully through this beautiful, knowledgeable and inspired poem collection. Reviewed by Christina Christou www.writetherapies.com
~ Christina Christou, www.writetherapies.com
How much William James would have supported all those who value the quality and range of a truly comprehensive modern awareness as Nicholas Hagger does.
~ Sir Laurens van der Post
He hits a pace, a tilt, that really carries the reader along... Everything comes as a subordinate clause to his dramatic momentum, a hand waving out of the express train window. ~ Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate
Praise for The Light of Civilization: An extraordinary book. ~ David Gascoyne
Brilliant! ~ Nexus
The scope of Hagger's book is immense. Universalism is a call to a philosopher to abandon the specialisms (in particular logic and language) and to attempt, once again, the kind of Grand Unified Theory of Everything that has marked the discipline from the beginning. Universalism has the potentiality to be as potent a movement in the 21st century as Existentialism was in the post-war world. ~ Christopher Macann, Lecturer in philosophy at the University of Bordeaux, author of Being and Becoming
In this magisterial work Nicholas Hagger unites the rational and intuitive strands of Western philosophy in the light of the latest findings from physics, cosmology, biology, ecology and psychology. His in-depth exposition of these sciences and their philosophical implications is breathtaking in scope and detail and fully justifies his declaration of a Metaphysical Revolution, which also has profound consequences for our understanding of world affairs. This is one of the most important philosophical books to appear since Whitehead's "Process and Reality" eighty years ago and deserves the widest possible readership. A stupendous achievement. ~ David Lorimer, Programme Director, Scientific and Medical Network
His poetic felicities include a poetic mix of Eliot, Pound and Blake; the judicious invention of his own psychological terms to guide his progress; an unafraid nakedness, linked to philosophic and scientific adventurousness; genuine visionary leanings and occasional lyric beauty. ~ Sebastian Barker, Past chairman of The Poetry Society