The deadline for entries to this year’s Prize (31 May) is fast approaching. Adjudicator Helena Nelson, poet, critic, publisher and founding editor of the renowned HappenStance press, will read all submissions. Full details at: www.frogmorepress.co.uk/frogmore-poetry-prize
The Prize was established in 1987 with a generous endowment from André Evans in his capacity as President of the Frogmore Foundation. John Rice, then Director of the New Metropole Arts Centre in Folkestone (and also a widely published poet in his own right) was persuaded to adjudicate, conditions of entry were drafted, and we were ready to roll. There may or may not have been a good reason for the decision to award the prize money in guineas rather than pounds sterling. This may or may not have been because 25 guineas sounded more desirable as booty than 25 pounds. Whatever the grounds, once the principle was established, it became a defining feature of the Prize, though the booty has multiplied tenfold over its thirty-seven years and now stands at a more impressive 250 guineas. Not that it has ever been about anything quite as vulgar as cash, albeit cash paid in guineas. Kudos, we hoped, would be the lure, and so it ultimately proved, with increasing numbers of submissions from poets whose names were recognised and whose work encountered in publications of note (though reputation counts for little when entries are judged anonymously, as they have been since the Prize’s inauguration).
David Satherley won that first Prize back in 1987, and Laura Jenner won last year. Between them there have been a series of notable winners, with John Latham and Howard Wright both winning twice, Caroline Price three times and Emily Wills on an astonishing four occasion! In every case, the Prize was awarded by a different adjudicator on each occasion, surely testament to the skill and craft of these poets. A selection of poems shortlisted for the Prize was published in The Frogmore Poetry Prize Anthology 1987–1991 and also in Decade: Ten Years of the Frogmore Poetry Prize. The 40th anniversary of the Prize in 2026 may prove to be the moment to bring its forty deserving winners together in one volume.