Copyright © 2011-2013 Richard James Allen.
 All rights reserved.

What is The Way Out At Last Cycle?
by Richard James Allen



The title for The Way Out At Last Cycle was inspired by Paul Klee painting, L’issue enfin trouvée, 1935 (above), translated by Marcel Marnat as The Way Out At Last.

The Way Out At Last Cycle is the multi-book poetic cycle which tracks the journey of the development, flourishing, dissolution and transcendence of ego consciousness.  It’s underlying structure was inspired in part by the first philosopher of history, Giambattista Vico’s idea of the four stages (birth, life, death and rebirth) through which on a micro level, individuals, and on macro level, their civilisations, pass in endless cycles.  Vico’s brilliant contribution was to see that the structures of consciousness, the vehicles through which consciousness can manifest in its attempt to grasp the outside world - our language and its expressive forms - also evolve, in a journey from what he described as the poetry of childhood to the prose of old age.

Drawing on Vico with a mix of Buddhist and Yogic ideas about Samsara, the wheel of life, and a sprinkle of Nietzsche’s Eternal Return and Yeats “perne in a gyre” (Sailing to Byzantium), The Way Out At Last Cycle has been an attempt to inhabit this cycle, at the level of the development of language, consciousness and an array of literary forms, and eventually exit it – find The Way Out At Last of this mind labyrinth. 

Note to the Reader

In terms of a reader approaching this potentially bewildering outpouring over thirty years, with three books still to go before completion, I should hasten to add that, while linked by this underlying matrix, each work in the cycle can also be read completely stand alone, as an examination of consciousness at that moment in the cycle.  And for that matter, each work can be excerpted from to find stand alone poems and meditations in a wide range of styles and forms.


As a child I always felt that there was something more to reality than I was given to know.  I didn’t know what that something might be but I searched for it in many places.  I knew it had something to do with going beyond the ‘I’ - the ‘Eye’ beyond the ‘i’, the seeing beyond the grasping.  I wanted to take a journey towards some kind of second sight and somehow felt intuitively that if I set myself the difficult task of writing a long poem of self-exploration, I would have to go on that journey in order to fulfill the task of writing it.  The poem was to be called The Way Out At Last because it was meant to be about finding an exit to the prison cage of reality as I saw it.  Of course, given the labyrinths of the mind, such an escape act is a far more complex and arduous, downright tricky and perhaps impossible - a challenge of shadows - than I could ever have envisaged.  But I can attest that the pathways of the unfolding poem, a multi-dimensional curriculum, did throw me many challenges and what remains now is the evidence of the journey I have taken.  I make no claims to wisdom or enlightenment or ultimate freedom, but I can offer the testament of my humanity in its struggle towards such a goal.


Because The Way Out At Last, which over the years grew from being single poem into a multi-book Cycle, was from its inception to be a journey into consciousness through one of its primary tools – language – it has also proved to be a journey through and across many literary forms (and from there, subsidiarily, into multiple media forms as well).  I have gone into more detail on the origins of and inspirations for this poem and my ‘shapeshifting’ adapations of segments of it over the years in my doctoral thesis, Out Of The Labyrinth Of The Mind: Manifesting A Spiritual Art Beyond Dualism (University of Technology, Sydney, 2004), though the journey of the poem and its manifestations across multiple media platforms has continued beyond that time.


At the most basic structural level of The Way Out At Last Cycle, I have borrowed from the astonishingly broad-thinking eighteenth century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, one of the subjects of my B.A. Honours thesis, A Disappointed Bridge: The Architecture of Historical Knowledge from Bruni to Vico (University of Sydney, 1982), an idea about the cycles of history, humanity and language.  Vico’s notion, expressed in his Scienza Nuova or New Science (1725), that individual people, their civilisations and hence their uses of language continually pass through a four stage cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth formed the structure of a long poem entitled The Way Out At Last, the title poem of my first volume of poetry, published in 1986. 

This poem contains an outward spiralling, continually expanding, four part structure.  The first pass through the four stages is in four short poems: Light, Moon, Chambers, Gods.  These seedbed poems themselves then make up the first section of the longer four part The Way Out At Last poem (the second pass through the cycle), the other sections being Trespassers, or The Death of the White Dog; The Laughing Ceases; and Unholy Brightness.  The third time through the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth occurs in the longer work To The Ocean; for which, in a similar patterning, The Way Out At Last poem forms the first part, the second being White, the third The Laughing Movie, and the fourth the poem entitled To The Ocean

The fourth time through the cycle continues the expansion as, once again, the implications of themes, preoccupations, forms, styles, linguistic tropes, and states of mind identified with earlier sections or phases are explored and realised and new seeds are sown for later developments.  The To The Ocean cycle itself becomes the first part in a larger cycle that leads on to the longer part two Scheherazade (published with To The Ocean in 1989), and the longer parts three, Hope for a man named Jimmie, and four, Grand Illusion Joe (published together in 1993). 

And now, again, that four part cycle has become the first part of the ever larger fifth cycle of works, of which Thursday’s Fictions (published in 1999) is the epic length reflection on phase two (“life”).  The third (“death”) phase of this cycle takes the form of three books, picking up on earlier patternings for this section: More Lies (written, but not yet published), The Kamikaze Mind (published in 2006), and Fixing the Broken Nightingale (forthcoming in 2013).  I am currently at work on what I hope will be the final and fourth (“rebirth”) section in the final cycle of The Way Out At Last Cycle.


If you have any questions, please feel free to email PhysicalTV@bigpond.com.

 Copyright © 2011-2013 Richard James Allen.
 All rights reserved.
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