The 33rd Frogmore Poetry Prize has been awarded to Oxford writer and painter Polly Walshe, for her poem ‘Our District’. Adjudicator John O’Donoghue comments: ‘I have read the poem over and over and find new depths and meaning in it every time. There was no poem quite like ‘Our District’ in the great sheaf of poems I read.’ Polly wins 250 guineas and a two-year subscription to The Frogmore Papers.
Runners-up were Michael Swan, for ‘We Refugees’, which ‘brings home to the reader how the legacy of oppression remains, how the feeling of contingency and uncertainty never leaves anyone who has fled war and persecution in lives of great economy and power’, and Robert Hamberger for ‘Sleeping with Uncertainty’, a sonnet exploring the uncertainty those facing a potential cancer diagnosis have to endure.
The other shortlisted poems – by Tony Hendry, Miriam Patrick, David Shields, Ben Strak, Michael Swan (again) and J S Watts – all possess the qualities O’Donoghue was looking for in his choices: ‘originality of voice, facility with the craft of poetry and felicity of expression’.
All poems will be published in the September edition of The Frogmore Papers, available post-free from The Frogmore Press, 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ for £5.