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.
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?
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).