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The Frogmore Prize closes 31st May 2021

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FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE

The Frogmore Poetry Prize (sponsored by the Frogmore Foundation) was founded in 1987 and has been awarded annually since then. The Prize money is currently 250 guineas but the true Prize is the kudos of joining a select band of winners which includes Caroline Price, John Latham, Tobias Hill and Mario Petrucci. Many leading poets – Carole Satyamurti, Pauline Stainer, Linda France, Paul Groves, John Mole, Sophie Hannah, Elizabeth Bartlett and Susan Wicks among them – have adjudicated the Prize and all winners have been published in the pages of The Frogmore Papers.

clare bestAdjudicator: Clare Best’s latest collection of poems is Each Other (Waterloo Press 2019). Her prose memoir The Missing List was published by Linen Press in 2018 and her collection Excisions was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize 2012.

https://clarebest.co.uk/

To enter and for more details follow the LINK

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Of Hearts – Karen Dennison

Screenshot2021-04-13at13.45.07Karen Dennison’s Of Hearts opens with a poem about Point Nemo, the ‘spacecraft graveyard’ and furthest place from land in the ocean. The poem sets the tone for a pamphlet which explores our tiny place in a vast, overwhelming universe. It is full of crisp, lucent, technically agile and clever poems of cosmic longing. Of Hearts is a deeply enjoyable pamphlet from a poet with her eyes pressed to a telescope, searching until ‘the stars switch off’.

Copies available from Broken Sleep Books

contact https://kdennison.wordpress.com/contact/  for a signed copy. £6 including postage in the UK.

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New Beginnings Poetry Competition – Renard Press

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NEW BEGINNINGS

Over the last year we’ve been living in a suspended state of fear and confusion, and we are all fed up. Political discourse has been toxic, relationships strained, and it feels as though we need some sort of ‘goal’ – something to look, or work, towards.

New Beginnings is a poetry competition seeking to celebrate this theme of New Beginnings, open to all those who feel their voice was silenced in 2020 – from anyone in the world, any age. They want the resulting anthology – scheduled for September – to be a celebration of the end of the toxic aspects of 2020 and the pandemic, to be a glimmer of hope for the future and a manifesto for change.

FULL DETAILS ON THEIR SITE


Competition opens on Monday 15th February
Competition closes on Diversity Day (Friday 21st May)
Longlist announced on Friday 25th June

Entry cost: free

Open to: anyone who feels their voice was silenced in 2020. Anywhere in the world, any age. Rules →

Poetry length: up to 100 lines or 750 words, only one (must be previously unpublished) poem per applicant.

1st prize: £200
2nd prize: £100

Special mentions at the judges’ discretion.

All of the poems on the shortlist will be published in a volume, and everyone included will receive a copy of the book, and will be invited to take place in an online launch event.

MEET THE JUDGES

Photo © Jo Cotterill

MIRIAM HALAHMY

Miriam was a teacher for 25 years, and, having worked with refugees and asylum seekers in schools, her writing engages with historical and contemporary issues that affect children across time – most notably the plight of refugees. Her young-adult novel, Hidden, was a Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and has been adapted for the stage. Saving Hanno, Miriam’s new book, is about a boy who comes on the Kindertransport and reflects on the grief and loss experienced by refugee children.

Photo © Denise Rawls

DENISE RAWLS

Denise is a writer, based in east London. She is an alumni of Spread the Word’s Development Programme, the first chapters of her novel in progress achieved ‘highly commended’ in the Writers & Artists Working-Class Writers’ Prize and she is contributing to Common Gossip, a working-class anthology. Outside of writing, she has been vocal about the lack of career progression across the civil service for black and brown women on BBC’s Women’s Hour and Sky News. As well as writing her novel, Marisol’s Baby, Denise works for the National Theatre, where she leads the organisation’s communications team.

Photo © Hannah Fields

HANNAH FIELDS

Hannah Fields is a writer, editor and publisher from Texas. She founded the independent publishing company, Folkways Press, in 2020, and launched the company with an anthology, We Are Not Shadows, as its inaugural publication. The anthology selected writing from women of all ages and backgrounds and covers a wide range of topics – including issues of race, gender, sexuality, trauma, adversity, disability, and more. She has worked on various publications, from children’s books to award-winning magazines, along with various publishers in the US and UK.

Photo © Tom Denbigh

TOM DENBIGH

Tom Denbigh lives in Bristol with an obscene number of books. He is the first Bristol Pride Poet Laureate and a BBC 1Extra Emerging Artist Talent Search winner. He has performed at the Royal Albert Hall and festivals around the UK, and has brought poetry to Brighton and London Prides. He is a producer at Milk Poetry and has facilitated writing workshops for groups of students from the UK and abroad (he is particularly proud of his work with queer young people). His debut collection …and then she ate him is out now with Burning Eye Books.

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It’s no longer a Sweet Treat – Hideko Sueoka

“I have an interest in ekphrastic poetry and bought your book, Eva and George: Sketches in Pen and Brush which inspired me to write the poem below. It was a good chance for me to make a poem based on your war poem ‘Turnip Winter: 1917’. When I read it, soon my grandmother’s tale came up to mind: the hard time of WWII in Japan. So my poem relates to WWII in Japan: a sort of war poem. At that time, there was a serious problem of a shortage of food. People wanted to eat rice but couldn’t. Thus, people ate sweet potatoes that was harvested much more than rice.” Hideko Sueoka

It’s No Longer A Sweet Treat

A lack of food was endless during WWII.
Anyone starved anywhere, similarly
to the Turnip Winter. Instead of a turnip
a sweet potato was a staple diet.
 
No more death, never wage war.
 
Terror made each night longer.
Everyone ate sweet potatoes as dinner
below a bare bulb, instead of rice
without a murmur in the ustulate world.
 
No more death, never wage war.

eva-and-george-coverEva and George – Sketches in Pen and Brush (Pindrop Press, 2013) 978-0957329034, £7.99
A poetic account of the life of the artist George Grosz told through the voice of his wife, Eva Peter. An affecting sequence, Morley impresses with a startling account of  a private and public existence in a Germany transforming itself after the First World War. Stark images of despots and outcasts mirror the artist’s paintings, but Morley’s engaging account of passion and malice, and dramatic exploration of Grosz’s inspiration, adds more colour to a richly imaginative collection. Poetry Book Society

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Yes But What Is This? What Exactly? by Ian McMillan – reviewed by Rennie Halstead

ianYes But What Is This? What Exactly?                   Ian McMillan

Smith|Doorstop £6.00

ISBN: 978-1-912196-37-1

This delicious pamphlet from Ian McMillan, brings a smile in the dark days of Covid lockdown with wry humour and ironic observations of everyday life.

“Seeing a Goal Scored from a Passing Train” (p20) examines those split second moments when a train is slowed for a signal, and the observer can watch a slice of some-one else’s life passing in front of them like the audience in the cinema.

The train slows, almost stops. Drizzle’s stories
Are stale and repetitious and the traveller
Wipes a hole in the window steam with his sleeve;

Here the action caught is a football match – or rather several football matches. McMillan captures the scene outside the carriage window, and the significance of the scoring of a goal is celebrated by the unseen observer. Sometimes the ‘goal is a point of sudden change; / A new route found on an old map.’ At other times ‘a memory you always knew you’d have / Even before the goal was scored.’

The game itself is well observed. One player is  a ‘bloke who looks like he’s made of mud’  whilst the unfortunate goalkeeper:

[…]     flaps like a scarf in the breeze,
Wafts nothing except the ball’s ghost
And the striker runs away, mouth open in joy.

McMillan points up the reactions of the rather staid passengers on his train when he celebrates the goal with the players he is watching:

I stand and whoop and the train’s dullards
Stare at me like I’m a cave painting come to life.
I don’t care. It’s a goal. The train creaks, moves.

The humour of “Tone Found in Sonnet: a Murder Mystery” (p7) takes us on a manhunt through a combination of anagram and wordplay:

Body found in suit.
Horse found in shore.
Hope found in hoopoe.
Man found in woman.

The opening line of each stanza breaks the anagram mould, building to the sadness of the  ending:

Ache found in heart.
Man found in Manitoba.

“Adult Audio” (p12) tells the story of mother-in-law’s confused attempts to use the television’s remote control to entertain two of her grandchildren. The children sit round her ‘Like she is gathering peas that have been shelled’ as she looks for CBBC . Instead she finds AUDIO and then ADULT! as ‘the grandchildren / Sit like chess pieces’ before finding the Shipping Forecast which:

[…]     calms its way out of the screen
On Radio 4. The ADULT shipping forecast,
Obviously. All those wet places.

“Between Junction 35a and Junction 36” (p9) captures the moment a group of immigrants jump from a lorry parked on the hard shoulder of a motorway. The curtain at the back of the truck:

[…]                opened theatrically
And they tumbled out, running
Into the evening-scribbled bushes

McMillan describes them, as ‘Scattered chess pieces’,  and ‘Pepper ground onto cold soup’ as they flee the motorway for the cover of darkness.

Even the bushes were frightening
In a language nobody knew.

There is no judgement here. McMillan is presenting a scene, full of random haste, an apparently uncoordinated rush into darkness in a bid for the last stage in a search for freedom.

“Three Flat Caps”  (p15)  is my favourite poem in the pamphlet. The poem opens with aggressive / dismissive humour:

The mining industry, eh? What a bastard.
Men dropped at the speed of dropped kecks
Down a hole in the ground  […]

before focusing on the three flat caps at the bottom of the stairs that are full of memories of the dead miner:

[…]                                                     Take one

Of the flat caps and listen carefully: his breathing,
Like fingernails across wire mesh, like rain
On the bratish roof of the shed, still there
In that space behind the neb.

and we are there, hearing the miner struggling for breath as the coal dust accumulates in his lungs over a lifetime of work. The caps are a testament, a memoir of a lost husband and father taken by pneumoconiosis and the admonition is:

[…]                                         Don’t ever
Put it on. Don’t let the grandkids put it on.

The caps are more than items of clothing. In this setting they have become ‘cultural artefacts’ as important as memorial statues of Churchill or the picture of the Queen that appears on stamps:

You lick the back of every time
You send a card to a grieving widow.

The pamphlet is as lucid and well written as one would expect from such an accomplished poet. The humour, and the throwaway last lines catch the reader, makes them think twice and pick out a more serious meaning behind the apparently simple language.

Thoroughly recommended.

Rennie Halstead

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Two poems – Kate Ashton

nasturtiums

Watch the woman – how
she brings bell peppers

to the table for their
heat, incendiary carmine,

for their glare, set down
beside brown bread, see

how they chime and flare,
like wine, like prayer. He is

a mountain she has scaled,
glimpsed from the summit

such pale peaks, cupped
tarns a-brim with evening

red like his bright hunger
in her arms or summer’s

hot nasturtium sun, parched,
clambering the sky

in hope, in faith, for love
of light in that high arch.

heavenly bodies

then you were both cycling
home across the low land
(no hiding place) along
a rush-plumed road beside
small waterways tall pink
swan-bloom’ when stars
began to fall from a wide
sky so full of wild descent
it seemed to die upon you
in mid-flight like hope

the day the earth drifted
before the sun as though
in error as if it lost its way
in that great wilderness
and chanced into the path
of heat so high that it
devoured desire and all
past life and song until creation
coldly lay silenced and old
beneath the lightless hour

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Woman by Sara Carroll in response to artwork by Daniel Goodwin

Today’s poem from Sara Carroll responds to artwork by Daniel Goodwin. Read the full interview with Daniel HERE.

I asked Daniel to choose a piece of artwork for the writing prompt: “I have selected an ink and wash drawing of a woman’s head from the doorway of St Mary’s Bloxham. It’s quite badly corroded and, as I said, reminds me of someone that’s masked. I chose it because I would love to know what she thought or would be thinking now. Perhaps her voice could come out of the poems that people might write; or perhaps it she might help poets respond in their own voice. It will be great to see what happens!”

dan

Woman

I was Eve. Slender as a fish.
The shape of my neck and chin
definite, sharp, intense. I was all
chestnut hair, dark lashes, plump lips.

He couldn’t take his eyes off
the resolute direction of my nose,
the diamond generosity of my smile.
I was Eve. Desired and cool as fine marble.

Now time’s ruthless pumice
rubs me out, rounds my bones,
files my skin, so that features
slide away like melting buttercream.

By slow erosion I slip into smooth
invisibility. I can sit alone, unseen
against a wall, eyes closed,
listening to anxious chatter,

rereading stories etched
under my lids, counting blessings
on stubs of fingers, broken toes.
I was Eve: one of a pair, part of a he.

Now I am me.

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Vixen by Jessica Whyte in response to artwork by Helen Ivory

Today’s poem from Jessica Whyte is in response to Helen Ivory’s art prompt. Read the full interview HERE.

“It’s one of my foxes and one of my poppets, needle-felted and out on their own. When I first put this on Facebook, there was a general agreement that it would make a good writing prompt.”

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Vixen
for Leonora Carrington

She rides towards us,
bushy-tailed, her russet mane
luminous, alive with sparks, as if she came
straight from her electroconvulsive bed,
her veins echoing with luminal.

What if, instead, she fled, escaped?
Slipped from the sanatorium,
to create alchemy in small brushstrokes,
a dawn horse tethered to her art.

As we share her space, her liberty,
hyenas suckle on our hands,
the rocking horse looses her bonds,
the tablecloth’s black head flutters like a moth,

we dine on golden light,
the owl distils its violin heart,
swallows germinate from stars.

Fleet of foot, with cunning brush,
she conjures worlds in vulpine hush.

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Scratching at the Surface of Tears – Film Poem – words by Jill Munro, film by Karen Dennison

Jill Munro author picJill Munro has been published in major poetry magazines including The Frogmore Press, Popshot Quarterly and The Rialto and her work has been anthologised by Paper Swans Press, Candlestick Press and Calder Valley Press. She won the O’Bheal Five Words International Poetry competition 2017/18 and was 2nd in this year’s competition. Jill’s first collection ‘Man from La Paz’ was published in 2015 by Green Bottle Press. She won the Fair Acre Press Pamphlet Competition 2015 with ‘The Quilted Multiverse’, published April 2016. Jill was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship for 2018 and lives and writes in the depths of Ashdown Forest.

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The Pathway by Andrea Holland in response to artwork by Sheena Clover

Today’s response poem is from Andrea Holland and is responding to Sheena Clover’s artwork, The Pathway. You can read the full interview HERE

“The other series I have been working on is about the paths which start from my door and which extend in all directions. Some paths are very clear cut, other weave and move responding to invisible obstacles and seasonal changes. This image is based on one of the paths I have discovered in my daily walks.”

The Pathway

The Pathway

It is the language of the determined foot; steps
as blue morse, invisible dot-dash in time with the trees.

The promise is you are getting somewhere, however
the jackdaws distract and the path twists and turns.

August scuffs and sieves the soil so the path opens up
like an exclamation mark through heat. The trees beyond,

reliably in leaf, offer a green like copper patina; scratchy
and loud. Nobody’s clouds lead the way, far off, slow

as translation. The path is the language of the foot, stepping
out there. There is a moment where we are held, however

far into the year, where we pause to be taken
by a sky that baby-blue.