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.
HOUSE 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.