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CHARLES CAUSLEY PROJECT

The Arts Society Liskeard are embarking on a project to make a detailed record and inventory of the Charles Causley House in Launceston, which are at present merely an eclectic assortment. There is also a collection of Charles Causley photographs stored in Exeter University, eg his meeting with Auden and Ted Hughes. Liskeard are delighted that some of our members have volunteered to catalogue, copy or make digital images of these. This is likely to be a year's project, perhaps a day a week, three of our Society members have volunteered to form a team, others will be welcome to join. Please contact us at any of the Wednesday meetings.

There is some delay on this project, until the Lead from Liskeard has the opportunity to visit Exeter to see what this is likely to entail. Apparently there is a great deal of material in the University Collection.(January '18) Meanwhile two members are attending the SW Area Annual Spring Meeting in Exeter this March.

Charles Stanley Causley, CBE, FRSL (24 August 1917 – 4 November 2003) was a Cornish poet, schoolmaster and writer. His work is noted for its simplicity and directness and for its associations with folklore, especially when linked to his native Cornwall.

Causley was born at Launceston in Cornwall and was educated there and at a teacher training college in Peterborough. His father died in 1924 from long-standing injuries from the First World War. Largely because of this, Causley had to leave school at 15 to earn money for the family, working as an office boy during his early years. He enlisted in the Royal Navy and served as a coder during the Second World War, in the Atlantic and later in the Pacific. Causley later wrote about his wartime experiences in his poetry, and also in a book of short stories, Hands to Dance and Skylark. His first collection of poems, Farewell, Aggie Weston (1951) contained his "Song of the Dying Gunner A.A.1". The collection Survivor's Leave followed in 1953, and from then until his death Causley published frequently. He worked as a teacher at his old school, in Launceston, leaving the town seldom and reluctantly. He did spend time in Perth as a visiting Fellow at the University of Western Australia, and also at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada. He travelled widely and frequently, especially after his retirement in 1976. Causley was much in demand at poetry readings in the United Kingdom and worldwide. He also made many television and radio appearances over the post-war period, and as the presenter for many years of the BBC Radio 4 series Poetry Please.

An intensely private person, he was nevertheless approachable. He was a friend of such writers as Siegfried Sassoon, A. L. Rowse, Susan Hill, Jack Clemo and Ted Hughes (his closest friend). As well as Causley's other poetry dealing with issues of faith, travel, friends and family, his poems for children were popular. In 1958, Causley was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded a CBE in 1986

The Charles Causley Trust, a registered charity, exists to celebrate his life and work and promote new literature activity in the community and region in which he lived. The Trust secured the poet's house in Launceston for the nation in 2006. After considerable repairs, refurbishment and upgrading, the house has been opened on a limited basis to the public, providing a programme of heritage activities to promote Causley's life and work, and in particular the base for a Poet-in-Residence programme.