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The Frogmore Papers – an interview with Jeremy Page

Frogmore-75

Last week I had a record number of submissions out at magazines, two rejections and an unexpected acceptance I first knew about when the magazine dropped on my mat. I do sometimes wonder why I put myself though this, but it is one of those compulsions that come with the essentialness of writing – it’s in my nature or my bones. I’ve asked Jeremy Page some questions about The Frogmore Papers and why he thinks poetry magazines are important. Here’s what he says…

 

Why are poetry magazines important?
For most poets it’s where they first achieve publication and reach a wider audience. Also, editors come in all shapes and sizes, so if you’ve studied the craft of poetry and worked at finding your own voice, there’s a very good chance someone somewhere will want to publish what you’ve produced. And we can only hope that once a poem is published, people will read it and perhaps find their own meanings in it.

When was the Frogmore Press set up and by whom?
It was set up by André Evans and me in Folkestone in 1983.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Every issue of The Frogmore Papers includes contributions from a large number of people – writers, artists, editors and reviewers – and I see my role as bringing all the diverse elements together in such a way that the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts. Thus the most rewarding moment is probably when I hold the proof copy of a new issue in my hands at the printer’s.

jeremypage

On average how many submissions do you receive per month and how many poems can you accept?
We’ve recently had to introduce a system of submission windows because dealing with the volume on a rolling basis was threatening to take over my life. We now accept submissions in April and October and aim to get back to people by the end of the following month. For the last few years, sadly, we’ve been able to accommodate only around 2% of the material we receive. We publish between 40 and 50 poems per issue.

What is your advice to poets who find a rejection letter on their doormat?
Try another editor, but only once you’ve checked out the magazine you’re submitting to so you can be confident you’re in with a fighting chance of an acceptance. For example, very few of the poems published in Ambit would find a home in Agenda, and vice versa.

And finally, where do you find inspiration for your own writing and what have you published?ct
I’m most often inspired by random thoughts and memories, but occasionally I’ll read something in a review of a book – usually not a poetry book – that will spark an idea that eventually becomes a poem. My most recent collection is Closing Time, which was published by Pindrop last year. My first, Bliss, was published in Crabflower Pamphlets back in 1989. In between there have been two pamphlets – Secret Dormitories and In and Out of the Dark Wood – and one full collection, The Alternative Version. I’ve also published translations of the Lesbia poems of Catullus as The Cost of All Desire (Ashley Press, 2011).

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9 thoughts on “The Frogmore Papers – an interview with Jeremy Page”

  1. Great to hear it pays off to put yourself through this – it’s the time factor that raises stress levels. The not knowing and having a poem tied up for such a long time before you can re-submit. I enjoyed this interview – it’s always useful to see the whole submission thing from the other side. Thanks for posting.

  2. So glad you interviewed an editor! It is so easy to damn them all to the other place when nothing gets through!

    Editorship is being questioned in some areas lately – whether they actually print a person’s ‘voice’, as Jeremy says, or dictate what and how people should write. As with most competitions which state they accept work on ‘any subject’ there is an unspoken rider ‘as long as it in the style currently in vogue’, and that vogue tends be London-vogue. .

    Hunting through magazines also is not such an easy task – expense-wise. Few remotely up-to-date copies are online: Poetry Kit, and Poetry Society listings.

    But then, whoever said it would be easy? And would it be worth it if it was?

  3. Yes, it’s great to get your work accepted, but as soon as you get a rejection, just resubmit, don’t dwell on the rejection, it’s part of sending out submissions. And do try and read a copy of the magazine beforehand, it does help; but as previous comment points out can be expensive too, so if you’ve a few poety friends, subscribe or buy a copy of a different mag each, and swap!

  4. Katrina Naomi ran a brilliant workshop for the Indian King Poets on this very subject last Monday. That 2% seems to me to give hope: there is a good chance with those odds, that your rejection may not be because the poem is bad. Katrina re-iterated the need to make the submission system mechanical so that all the emotion and hard work can go into the poems!

  5. It’s well worth spending the occasional day at the Poetry Library reading all the magazines – very stimulating and informative as well as a deep dive into the vast sea that poetry is. Last time I was there, they even offered me a comp for a poetry event that evening.

    1. One magazine I highly recommend is Acumen. Does anyone know of any good outlets for eco-poetry submissions? I’ve an eco poem on my latest post if anyone is interested.

  6. Yes, it’s good to see things from an editor’s perspective. Many, perhaps most. poetry editors
    are poets themselves and are used to looking at publication from both perspectives – that of writer and editor..

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