Out of Print

Peter Cash published his first booklet of poems in August 1971. It comprises a series of twelve ‘confessional poems’ written in response to the break-up of his first serious relationship. As the title suggests, the poems grew out of ideas which he first expressed in his hand-written letters of the time both to his close friends and to his former girlfriend herself. At the time, G. S. Fraser discerned in this collection ‘a new voice’.

The poems are candid expressions of raw emotion, written in the aftermath of the rift and communicating in graphic images the pain that comes of suffering from a broken identity. They divulge a great deal of information, but control its release by means of tight verse-forms and concise clauses, thereby conveying in adult terms an adolescent’s effort to make sense of a personal rejection.

In May 1971, Memento won The Lake Aske Memorial Award (organised by The Nottingham Poetry Society). From this collection too comes House, one of Peter Cash’s first published poems which appeared in WORKSHOP: New Poetry No 13 in October 1971 – alongside poems by W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes and Thom Gunn. It was primarily on the strength of this collection that Peter Cash came to receive his Eric Gregory Award in 1975.

I live inside this house
and never go out.

I need all my time
to keep its grey rooms tidy,

each piece of different furniture
rigidly in place.

I watch its thin walls 
for cracks and organise my day

between the two long sideboards
just in case.

There is no book nor television
to assist my escape

from this close air; 
and the door has had no handle

since you knocked my round roof 
out of shape

and then smashed
my windows in, you beautiful vandal.

I live inside this house
and can never go out.

About the author: admin