morphrog’s 25th number lands

morphrog 25, celebrating, as ever, ‘poetry in the extreme’, is now live at This latest edition of Frogmore’s online journal includes work from Ella Walsworth-Bell, Ian Heffernan, Mark McDonnell, Heather Sager, Gordon Scapens, Ian C Smith and Rodney Wood and also features a gallery of photographs by the late Martin Kay, whose work has graced many previous editions.

morphrog now welcomes submissions of translations, short prose/flash fiction, photographs and other visual images and audio content, as well as poetry ‘in the extreme’ or otherwise. Visit for submission guidelines.

Results of 35th annual Frogmore Poetry Prize

The 35th Frogmore Poetry Prize has been won by Laura Jenner from Whitehouse, County Antrim, for her poem ‘Smoothing’. Adjudicator John Freeman writes: ‘‘Smoothing’ uses rhythm, syntax, discreet rhyme and unfolding webs of imagery to evoke the characters and hard lives of two particular women, and by extension a whole class of women they stand for. There is a controlled explosion, as it were, when the ‘coffin-shape’ of the ironing board in line 2 is detonated in the memorial plaques ‘about the size of an iron’ in the last lines. We’ve been on a rich and varied journey in between, as the poem ‘[brings] the centuries to face each other.’ ‘Smoothing’ is a very worthy winner of this year’s Frogmore Prize.

The first runner-up was Elizabeth Best, an American poet from Louisville, Kentucky, with ‘Veteran Mates’ and the second runner-up was John Lancaster from Totness, with ‘Sussed’. Other poets shortlisted were Sarah Barr (winner of the Prize in 2015), Annie Fisher, Stuart Henson, Neil Martin, Myra Schneider and Rolf Venner. All shortlisted poems will be published in the celebratory 100th edition of The Frogmore Papers in September.

Congratulations to all shortlisted poets, and thanks to all the poets who supported this year’s Frogmore Prize by entering.

Laura Jenner


Every time I trail out and unfold the ironing board,
the padded, collapsible coffin-shape, I recall how
Belle left school on Friday, starting Monday in the laundry,
recall her iron glide across the cloth, a grey liner bow
as it scythed through the lough, its hissing wake of starchy steam.
She sailed through infirmary bedding, the sheets of hotels.
smoothed the shirts of rich lawyers whose wives did damn all.
She had red hair, she informed me, the colour of rust.

At night, she returned to the drab house beside the Lagan,
and got into the bed she shared with two of her sisters –
the one who smoked Woodbines, the one who was Brethren.
Sundays, she told me, the strolled up past the park, dandering
around Rosetta, stately villas of wealthy spinsters,
fat trees, primped lawns, the higher green world of petty bourgeois.
The quality, she called them, but with irony in it,
dark and tangy she turned it, rich and meaty on her tongue.

The iron has little glamour, but pure functionality.
For this reason, every time I use the thing, I think of
my mother’s bed, whom I nearly did not know,
who bled so badly, they had to chuck out a good mattress,
she told me, after a stillbirth, before an infant death,
after three healthy deliveries, for which she thanked God,
for all mothers then were the poor bloody infantry,
and birth was like war, and some didn’t return, but died in its filth.

She cleaned nights in the Boys’ Home; she smuggled food to those
who had given back cheek, and were put to bed early.
She was soft like that; pure iron is soft really. Decades on,
she named them like a chaplet, burnishing each with her tongue.
Everything she washed by hand, natural fibres scrubbed and wrung.
At some point, my father had to remove her wedding ring
with a blade and liquid ether. She kept it in a drawer –
two halves that faced each other, like a moon both old and young.

I moved them together as I do now, bringing the centuries
to face each other. I walk the fine streets and they are still
gracious, and full of the worthies. And always those women,
occurring abundantly, not considered precious –
who let themselves in to wash floors and press clothes,
and I think of those others, now boxes of ash,
in the marl of the boneyard, beneath a metal plaque
about the size of an iron, bearing their one-word name.

Free launch event for Echoes from the Old Hill, 1 June 2022, Lewes

The Frogmore Press has published a companion volume to its 2012 anthology, Poems from the Old Hill.  Echoes from the Old Hill, edited by Jeremy Page, brings together the work of eighteen widely-published poets resident in Lewes and will be launched at the Elephant & Castle, White Hill, Lewes, on Wednesday 1 June, 7.00 – 8.30pm (doors 6.45). All welcome, free admission. A number of contributors to the anthology will read.

Copies of Echoes from the Old Hill will be available at the launch (£10.00, cash or cheque only please), or can be purchased from Skylark in the Needlemakers or post free from The Frogmore Press at 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ (cheques payable to ‘The Frogmore Press’).

Contributors to the anthology are: John Agard, Colin Bell, Patrick Bond, Molly Chasseaud, Caroline Clark, James Flynn, Charlotte Gann, Martin Gayford, Neil Gower, Grace Nichols, Jeremy Page, Rachel Playforth, Ann Segrave, Catherine Smith, Peter Stewart, Janet Sutherland, Chris Sykes and Marek Urbanowicz.

The Old Hill is alive with poetry: A new Lewes anthology out now

The Frogmore Press has today published a new anthology of work by poets resident in Lewes: Echoes from the Old Hill, edited by Jeremy Page.

A companion volume to Poems from the Old Hill (Frogmore Press, 2012), it features work from eighteen widely published poets including John Agard, Grace Nichols, Catherine Smith and Janet Sutherland, and will be launched at the Elephant and Castle, White Hill, Lewes, on Wednesday 1 June 2022, 7pm (free, no booking necessary, all welcome).

The arresting cover image of the chalk cliff overlooking the river and railwayland is by local artist Neil Gower.

Copies of the book (£10.00 post free) are available from: The Frogmore Press, 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ; or can be purchased locally from Skylark in the Needlemakers.

Landmark 99th issue of The Frogmore Papers published

The spring edition of the Papers is now available. Once again they contain work by writers from across the world as well as from most corners of the UK. There is poetry from England, France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, the USA and Wales, and prose from Germany, South Africa and Wales.

Julian Gower, a multidisciplinary Graphic Artist, who works in a variety of media and styles, has created a striking cover inspired by the poetry of Julian Cason and Judith Wozniak, while Lydia McDonnell’s artwork is inspired by a poem from Tim Relf.

As ever, the Papers are available post-free (for £5.00) from The Frogmore Press, 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1PJ. Or why not subscribe and secure your copy of the celebratory 100th number, which will be published in September? A two-year subscription is still only £15.00. Payment can be made by cheque to ‘The Frogmore Press’ or email for details of how to pay by BACS or PayPal.

morphrog 24 – Frogmore’s online journal of poetry and more – now live

morphrog 24 is now live at

This 24th edition includes work from the usual eclectic mix of writers: Joe Balaz, who writes in Hawaiian Island Pidgin and American English; Ian Corcos and Mark Czanik, both currently in transit and on their way somewhere; Chinese mystic, poet and philosopher Yuan Hongri, translated by Yuanbing Zhang, resident of Shandong Province, China; Oversteps authors Jenny Hockey (Going to Bed with the Moon) and David Olsen (After Hopper and Lange); Calvin Liu, ethnic Chinese academic, resident in London; Pauline Rowe, winner of the 2021 Saboteur Award for best poetry pamphlet with The Weight of Snow (Maytree Press); and Ian C Smith, who writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia, and Flinders Island, Tasmania.

Morphrog 24 is dedicated to Martin Kay, who died suddenly and tragically in November and whose name will be familiar to readers of morphrog from the many striking photographs he contributed to previous editions.

Henry Woolf (1930-2021) – Jeremy Page remembers

Henry Woolf, occasional contributor to The Frogmore Papers and generous benefactor to the Frogmore Press over many years, died in November in Saskatoon, Canada, at the age of 91.

Henry Woolf (1930-2021)

Henry was best known as an actor and as the lifelong friend of Harold Pinter, but he was also a poet, a teacher and a playwright in his own right. He was an extraordinarily modest man despite his many claims to fame: he commissioned, directed and performed in Pinter’s first play, The Room, in a converted squash court at the University of Bristol in 1957; appeared in Peter Brook’s historic staging of Marat/Sade in 1964; played alongside Laurence Olivier in Ionesco’s Rhinoceros at the Royal Court in 1960; and starred as Toulouse-Lautrec in the musical Bordello at the Queen’s Theatre in London in 1974, and as Tony Hancock in Heathcote Williams’ Hancock’s Last Half Hour.

He also made significant TV appearances, notably in Doctor Who, Steptoe & Son and Rutland Weekend Television, and appeared in films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Gorky Park. His publications include Poems (np, 1966), In The Mousetrap (Greville Press, 2003) and the autobiographical Barcelona is in Trouble (Greville Press, 2017). He lived in Canada from 1983, retiring as Head of Drama at the University of Saskatchewan in 1997.

I first met Henry in the mid-70s when we were both living in Folkestone. He ran memorable weekend theatre workshops at the New Metropole Arts Centre, in which I was an enthusiastic participant. Our paths crossed again when he came to the University of Warwick, where I was a student, to perform Hancock’s Last Half Hour. And after that we stayed in touch, though our meetings were necessarily infrequent, especially in recent years.

We last met when Henry, on a visit to London, came to a poetry reading I gave at the Torriano Meeting House in Kentish Town in 2014. We met again for coffee the next day, shortly before his return to Canada, and, as we said our farewells, I remember wondering if we would have the chance to meet again. Sadly, we would not. His loss is keenly felt and I shall miss the arrival of envelopes from across the Atlantic with my name and address in Henry’s distinctive handwriting, but I am comforted by my memories of a man who made the world a better place with his wit, his kindness, his generosity and his multifarious talents.

Read his obituary in The Guardian here:

Jeremy Page, Editor of The Frogmore Papers

John Freeman to adjudicate 36th Frogmore Poetry Prize

We are very pleased to announce that the Frogmore Prize for 2022 will be adjudicated by John Freeman.

John taught English Literature and Creative Writing at Cardiff University for many years. His collection What Possessed Me (Worple Press), won the poetry section of the Wales Book of the Year Awards in 2017 and the Roland Mathias Award. Other recent books include Strata Smith and the Anthropocene (Knives Forks and Spoons Press), and White Wings: New and Selected Prose Poems (Contraband Books). His poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and have won numerous prizes including the Bridport Prize in 2018.

This year’s Frogmore Prize was won by Margaret Wilmot, a Sussex-based Californian. Runners-up were Stephen Keeler and Mike Barlow.

Submission details for the Frogmore Poetry Prize 2022 will be published in November 2021. Do follow our blog or Twitter feed (@frogmorepress) for details.

The Frogmore Papers nudge towards their 100th number

The 98th edition of The Frogmore Papers has now been published and is available post free from The Frogmore Press (£5.00).

This issue, with a stunning cover by Ukrainian artist Marysya Rudska, includes new poetry from John Freeman, Stuart Henson and Wendy Klein, prose from Ian Inglis and Henry Woolf and artwork from Lydia McDonnell, as well as all the poems shortlisted for the 2021 Frogmore Prize by adjudicator Clare Best, which was won by Sussex-based Californian Margaret Wilmot. Runners-up were Stephen Keeler (Ullapool) and Mike Barlow (Lancaster).

The other shortlisted poets were Katie Colombus, Cróna Gallagher, Marion Hobday, Vanessa Lampert, Nick Pearson and Anne Stewart.

Subscriptions to the Papers are still £10.00 for one year (2 issues) and £15.00 for two years (4 issues). Email for details of how to pay by BACS or PayPal, or send a cheque in the old fashioned way payable to ‘The Frogmore Press’ at 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ.

Join us at free book launch event for Neil Gower, Jeremy Page, and Marion Tracy – Wednesday, 6 October, 7pm, Lewes

On 6 October 2021, the eve of National Poetry Day, three new titles from The Frogmore Press will be launched upstairs at the Elephant & Castle pub in Lewes. These are Neil Gower’s debut poetry collection Meet Me in Palermo, Jeremy Page’s The Naming and Marion Tracy’s Evidence of LoveAll are welcome and admission is free but space is limited, so if you’d like to come please reserve a place by contacting frogmorepress@gmail.comDoors 7.00 pm and readings from 7.30.

Elephant & Castle Pub, White Hill, Lewes BN7 2DJ

These titles will all be available for purchase on the night and can also be obtained from Skylark in the Needlemakers, Lewes, Much Ado Books in Alfriston, or direct (and post free) from The Frogmore Press.Email:

Meet Me in Palermo and The Naming are £10.00, Evidence of Love is £5.00.

Payment can be made in the old fashioned way by cheque, payable to The Frogmore Press (at 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ), by PayPal to or by BACS to:
Account name: The Frogmore Press Account number: 01436686 Sort code: 40-14-28
If paying by PayPal or BACS please confirm purchase by contacting with your postal address.