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The Frogmore Papers – an interview with Jeremy Page

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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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Winter by Jeremy Page

berlin-in-the-snow

MY DAUGHTERS AND I TREK THOUGH HEAVY SNOW
TO VISIT ANITA WRONSKI IN BERLIN

We weren’t invited
but after the distance we’d trekked
through snow the like of which
they’d never dreamed
she could hardly turn us back.

And so we stepped into
the welcoming glow, all
stamping feet, rubbing hands
and catching breath
after a mere half hour
in the ice-bound city,
and Anita greeting us
like her longest lost cousins,
grasping us to the stove-like warmth
of her breast and serving us
runny scrambled eggs
and schinken, with heavy slabs
of thick black German bread.

And the girls come back to life,
sensation returns to fingers, toes,
eyes shine, while I sip hot, black coffee
and outside the pavements
grow heavier and heavier with snow.


First published on London Grip

Janet Sutherland

Janet Sutherland: Featured Poet

It was great to meet Janet at her joint launch with Jeremy Page a couple of weeks ago and amazingly the poem she sent me for this blog is my favourite in the collection. Serendipity?

janet sutherland

 

My Red Morocco Jack Boots

There are seven stations between Belgrade and Alexnitza
where changing horses takes an hour. At Pashapolanca
we had bread and slivovitz then lay on hard board
and slept very soundly. In white caps and German blouses,

Turkish trousers, with twelve yards of stuff, and jack boots
(mine were red morocco) our cavalcade moved off.
At night the path was very striking, summer lightning
pierced the dense foliage. I am not a Romantic

but here and there we came suddenly upon
encampments of caravans from Stambul and glimpsed
the wild forms of shadow men around a blazing fire.
At one such place I left my companions

these travel notes being all I took. They blundered
onwards to their next hotel, a consul dinner
in a dirty town, while I dismounted gesturing
and asking, in English, for the local wine.

These days I while away my time in idle pleasures
for the men are very sociable and well disposed.
I found a good specimen of a Serbian woman,
alone in the woods on her way to market,

her hair dyed black and twisted to one side;
she wore, like the Greeks, a tight under vest,
a purple velvet jacket, embroidered in gold and silver,
a treble row of ducats around her neck

and a silk petticoat which slipped through my fingers
like the river Morava. A practical woman,
she saw what I wanted, and opened her legs
by the side of the mountain, saying nothing.

 

Janet Sutherland was born in Wiltshire and grew up on a dairy farm. She has an MA in American Poetry from the University of Essex. Her poems are widely anthologised from The Virago Book of Love Poetry to The New British Poetry 1968-88 (Paladin). Her essay Reznikoff and his Sources appeared in the recent Black Sparrow (US) and Five Leaves (UK) editions of Reznikoff’s Holocaust. She lives in Lewes, East Sussex. She has three full collections from Shearsman Books the most recent of which is Bone Monkey (April 2014)

This new collection from Janet Sutherland explores the deeply mischievous, but darkly malevolent figure of Bone Monkey. A trickster who has always existed, he’s one of the old gods who sprang to life fully formed. He is by turns perpetrator and poet, murderer and lover, gardener and carer.

With sonnets, ballads and lyrical free verse Bone Monkey wanders through a series of shamanic creation myths into reveries on memory, love and loss. If he is brutal and amoral at times, he is also a dreamer rejoicing in those longings to eat the whole world, as Robert Bly has it, which are intrinsically human.

Shearsman Books

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The Frogmore Prize – two weeks to go

FRoggie frog web large

THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2014


Sponsored by the Frogmore Press

www.frogmorepress.co.uk

The winner of the Frogmore Poetry Prize for 2014 will win two hundred and fifty guineas and a two-year subscription to The Frogmore Papers. The first and second runners-up will receive seventy-five and fifty guineas respectively and a year’s subscription to The Frogmore Papers. Shortlisted poets will receive copies of selected Frogmore Press publications. Previous winners of the Prize have been David Satherley, Caroline Price, Bill Headdon, John Latham, Diane Brown, Tobias Hill, Mario Petrucci, Gina Wilson, Ross Cogan, Joan Benner, Ann Alexander, Gerald Watts, Katy Darby, David Angel , Howard Wright, Julie-ann Rowell, Arlene Ang, Peter Marshall, Gill Andrews, A K S Shaw, Sharon Black and Emily Wills.

Adjudicator: Abegail Morley is the author of three collections of poems: How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon, 2009), Snow Child (Pindrop, 2011) and Eva and George, Sketches in Pen and Brush (Pindrop, 2013). Her debut collection was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2010. Abegail lives in Kent.

Conditions of Entry

  1. Poems must be in English, unpublished, and not accepted for future publication.

  2. Poems should be typed and no longer than forty lines.

  3. Any number of poems may be entered on payment of the appropriate fee of £3 per poem. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to The Frogmore Press.

  4. The following methods of payment are acceptable: cheque drawn on UK bank; British postal order; sterling.

  5. Each poem should be on a separate sheet, which should not include the name of the author.

  6. The author’s name and address should be provided on an accompanying sheet of paper.

  7. The winner, runners-up and shortlisted poets will be notified by post. All shortlisted poems will appear in number 84 of The Frogmore Papers (September 2014), which will be available at £5.00 from the address below, and on the Frogmore Press website.

  8. To receive a copy of the results, please enclose an s.a.e. marked ‘Results’.

  9. Poems cannot be returned.

  10. Closing date for submissions: 31 May 2014.

  11. Copyright of all poems submitted will remain with the authors but the Frogmore Press reserves the right to publish all shortlisted poems.

  12. The adjudicator’s decision will be final and no correspondence can be entered into.

  13. Entries should be sent to: The Frogmore Press, 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1PJ.

  14. The submission of poems for the Prize will be taken as indicating acceptance of the above conditions.

The Frogmore Press

Jeremy Page

Jeremy Page: Featured Poet

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CLOSE SEASON

They say it smells of dead holidays.
I say it always did.  And out of season
was never the time to connect anything
with anything here, where you can only
wonder at the sea in all the shades
of grey on Richter’s palette, wonder
where the ice-cream vendors go
and if the deckchair man can really
hibernate in his cave beneath the cliff,
with his chairs, his memories of summer.

On the pier a salt breeze ruffles
a scrap of gaudy poster,  and offshore,
somewhere close, a ship’s bell tolls
for something gone, for some thing .

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Jeremy Page has edited The Frogmore Papers since 1983.  His short stories have been published in magazines like Ambit, Citizen 32 and The Interpreter’s House, and he is the author of several collections of poems, most recently In and Out of the Dark Wood (HappenStance, 2010).  His work has been translated into German and Romanian, and a selection of his poems was recently broadcast on Radio Romania Cultural in English and Romanian.  His own translations of Catullus are published by Ashley Press as The Cost of All Desire.  His play Loving Psyche was staged in Bremen in 2010.

Publications:

The Cost of All Desire: after Catullus (Ashley Press, 2011) available through good bookshops, from Skylark in Lewes, or by post (£5.00) from: The Frogmore Press, 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ.

In and Out of the Dark Wood (HappenStance Press, 2010) available from HappenStance (or through good bookshops)

The Alternative Version (Frogmore Press, 2001) available through good bookshops, from Skylark in Lewes, or by post (£4.95) from: The Frogmore Press, 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ.

Secret Dormitories (Crabflower Pamphlets, 1993) out of print

Bliss (Crabflower Pamphlets, 1989) out of print