Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009





Dead Letters



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Poems by Eric Millward


This first full collection brings together – in chronological order – poems written between 1958 and 1976. Eric Millward was born in 1935 in Longnor, Staffordshire, under Pisces. He now lives in Sussex, under few illusions. Since National Service in the RAF he has done many widely differing jobs with broadly similar unsuccess. His work has been broadcast by the BBC and SABC, and has been published here and there, with consistent irregularity – e.g., in The Listener, Outposts, Tribune, Orbis and Poetry Review; also in anthologies in Great Britain and abroad, including three of the PEN New Poems series and Borestone Mountain’s ‘Best Poems of 1974’. His Outposts pamphlet (A Child in the Park) was published in 1969, and an anthology of environmental poetry (Earthwords) is still unpublished. In politics he would like to vote against both sides. He dislikes monopolies and impregnables, and fears for the survival of endangered species, including eccentrics. A founder-member of the Conservation Society, he feels that the world is going insane, with official approval. His other interests include music, painting and sport. After health, he believes that life’s greatest gifts are contentment and credibility, and hopes to achieve both. He remarried in 1975 and has two sons and three step-children.

“This poetry is, for all its formal certainty, allied to the reproaches, the questionings, the cries like dead letters sent by a line of poets, from Donne to Andrew Young, which constitute a major English Tradition. The poems of Eric Millward, collected and made available to the public, would show him to be one of the most distinguished representatives of that tradition today.” Philip Hobsbaum / Contemporary Poets Of The English Language.


The Vulgar Word

When once I used a vulgar word
To make a poem bite
A certain lady wrung her hands
And stayed up half the night.

It was unseemly, so she said,
That one who rarely swore
Should use in poetry a word
So unrefined, so raw.

Then would she shun the vulgar act
The vulgar word implied?
‘Since you must ask – of course I would,’
She lied.


Price 1.35 per copy
Cover illustration: Design by the author.
Publication: JANUARY 1978 (56 pages laminated paperback).