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Collectors' Corner 1: Charles Causley

Posted by Ben, 20th August 2014

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Arc Publications turns 45 this year, and over the decades we have published something like 350 titles. Many of these are long out of print, lost to the labyrinth of antique book dealers and eBay. However, despite relocations, renovations and the odd flood, we have managed to keep our hands on the last few copies of some fascinating and beautiful editions and these can be found in our Collectors' Corner. In an attempt to feed two birds with one fat-ball, this occasional blog post series is intended to simultaneously resurrect the blog (which has lain dormant due to extreme levels of funding application stress) and introduce our long and varied history to those who may not realise that we hold so many treats in our store cupboard.


Oats and Beans and Barley, by Charles Causley


Subtitled 'More Poems by Children of Launceston', this collection follows the earlier volume of poems by the children of Launceston Voluntary Primary School, Cornwall, entitled In the Music I Hear, published by Arc in 1970 (sadly now unavailable, unless you can find a copy somewhere in the ether). Tony Ward, founding Managing Editor of Arc and sole member of the team at that time, recalls its publication: Causley called Tony for the third or fourth time, asking when the printed books were due to arrive. Tony asked if there was a specific rush. Causley replied that every time a lorry drove past the school, all the children asked at once if that was their books arriving and it was driving him mad.


In his introduction to this volume, Charles Causley writes: "I have chosen what I believe to be among the best work of a class of children aged 8 and 9 during a complete school year from September 1970 to July 1971. An essential aspect of this collection (as with the earlier book) is that it includes a contribution from every member of the group. To me, this demonstrates what I believe to be an important fact: that the writing of poetry is not the prerogative of a small, peculiarly gifted group, but something that can be practised with perfect validity and a considerable sense of achievement by anyone who, at certain moments in life, feels the need to do so... The importance, the value, lies always in the doing."


More information and the last few copies can be found here.


Published by Arc Publications in Gillingham, Kent. Perfect bound with brown card cover, cover design by Muriel Rowley. 22.8 x 17.7 cm.