38th Frogmore Prize heads west to Wales

Kathy Miles from Aberaeron, Ceredigion has been awarded the 38th annual Frogmore Poetry Prize by adjudicator Graham Mort for her poem ‘After a Termination on Medical Grounds’.

Born in Liverpool, Kathy has lived in Wales since 1972. She worked for many years at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, where she also completed an MA in Creative Writing. Her fourth collection of poetry, Bone House, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2020, and her latest collection, Vanishing Point, was published earlier this year by Palewell Press. Commenting on the process of adjudicating the Prize, Graham Mort said: ‘I avoided poems that explained themselves, trying to choose those that yielded up further meanings or significance, that burned brightest in my own consciousness, remaining irreducible. I wanted to acknowledge adventure in theme, form and language, to find transformative endings that left my own visions active in the lingering aura of the poem.’

The Frogmore Papers 104. Cover art by Eva Bodinet

First runner-up was Pamela Job from Wivenhoe, Essex, with her poem ‘Nikolai Astrup shows a rare visitor around his village’, inspired by an exhibition of the work of Norwegian artist Nikolai Astrup at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Second runner-up was Ben Verinder from Tring, Hertfordshire, with his poem ‘The Marfa Lights’. His poem ‘Dilapidations’ also reached the shortlist of ten. Other shortlisted poets were Jane Davidson, Tim Dwyer, Kate Horsley, Sarah Salway, Thea Smiley and Vivienne Tregenza.

Their poems will all be published in the September edition of The Frogmore Papers, available from The Frogmore Press for only £5.00, including post & packing.

The Papers’ 103rd edition in their 41st year

Cover art by Arusyak Pivazyan, inspired Paul Truan’s poem ‘Tones’

The Frogmore Papers’ 103rd edition is published this month. It’s another international number, featuring a striking cover by Armenian artist Arusyak Pivazyan (inspired by a poem from Cornish poet Paul Truan), translations of Georges Brassens by Michael Swan and the Belgian poet Marc Tritsmans by John Irons, poems by Peter Bakowski (Australia) and Christine Hennemann (Ireland) and a short story by Stephen Silvester (Canada). Closer to home, there is also work by Mike Barlow, Vuyelwa Carlin, John Greening, Stuart Henson, Myra Schneider, Paul Stephenson and a host of others. ‘From the Archive’ features a 1997 poem by Tobias Hill, who, sadly, died last year. Several of his early poems appeared in the Papers, and Tobias was awarded the Frogmore Prize in 1995 by Linda France for his poem ‘Flora and the Admiral’.

The Frogmore Papers are available post-free (£5.00) from The Frogmore Press or from Skylark, the independent bookshop in the Needlemakers, Lewes. Subscription rates to the Papers have remained at £10.00 for one year, £15.00 for two years since 2010.

Into autumn with Frogmore Papers No.102

September 2023 sees the publication of The Frogmore Papers’ 102nd edition. Ukrainian artist Marysya Rudska has created a stunning cover for the issue, inspired by Fred Johnson’s poem ‘Language’.

LANGUAGE

A wicker chair gone a hundred years into
mauve cold. In the old wood,

mice shiver like censers
swinging. The man there watches

a long stuck clock of road.
Folds arthritic hands and thinks

of nothing, really—only,
it’s snowing. That is to say,

the sun is a bone.

Thinks, now there’s something:

prints in the white clean. A red doe
limping, speaking.

Other contributors include poets John Freeman, Christine McNeill, John Mole and Graham Mort and Armenian artist Arusyak Pivazyan. All ten poems shortlisted for this year’s Frogmore Prize by Helena Nelson are published, including Lynda Plater’s winning poem and those by runners-up Alison Binney and Christoper Horton. The issue also includes new work by previous Prize winners Sharon Black, Margaret Wilmot and Howard Wright, and, in the ‘From the Archive’ section, a poem by Andrew Waterhouse, first published in number 46 of the Papers in 1995.

Copies are available for £5.00 (post and packing free) from The Frogmore Press, 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1PJ. Subscriptions remain at £10.00 for one year, £15.00 for two years. Email frogmorepress@gmail.com for details of how to pay by bank transfer or PayPal.

Frogmore begins a new century

Artwork by Eva Bodinet

The 101st edition of The Frogmore Papers (spring 2023) has been published and is now available from The Frogmore Press (£5.00, post free) or for Lewes residents from Skylark bookshop in the Needlemakers. With a distinctive cover by Paris-based artist Eva Bodinet, number 101 is another truly international edition, containing poetry from Ireland, the Philippines, the USA and most corners of the UK, prose from France and the USA and artwork by Ukrainian artist Marysya Rudska, as well as the usual reviews of recent poetry publications. Here’s a poem by Chicago-based poet Donna Pucciani, who makes a welcome return to the Papers with this issue.

Donna Pucciani

DIFFERENCE

It’s not the loss of morning light,
a gradual dimming done by autumn’s brush,
keeping the pink sky half-night
even at seven.

It’s the loss of birdsong.
I remember, as though it were just
yesterday, the sharp echoes
bouncing off bare April branches,
promising green and morning music
for the better half of the year,
when picking up the morning paper
becomes a bright cantata.

Now, silence is a burden
that gets heavier through the day,
then drags its leaden feet
through the weeks ahead, until
the deepening snow absorbs it
in the mummified corpse of winter.

I try to appreciate the difference
between music and the still breath
of nothingness at dawn,
which is its own music.
Absence is the fulness of zero,
when the mouths of a thousand flowers
leave behind only the memory of fragrance.

The architecture of longing
hangs in the early morning air,
suspended in space,
happy in its own emptiness,
for desire knows no death.

Lewes launch for the 100th Papers and Clare Best’s End of Season

28th September saw the launch of the 100th edition of The Frogmore Papers alongside Clare Best’s new bilingual Frogmore publication End of Season (Fine di Stagione) at the Elephant and Castle in Lewes.

From left: André Evans (co-founder of The Frogmore Press), Neil Gower (with original artwork for Frogmore Papers 100), Jeremy Page (holding first issue of The Frogmore Papers from 1983), Clare Best with her collection End of Season, Alexandra Loske (Managing Editor, with a copy of Frogmore’s 2019 anthology Pale Fire: New Writing on the Moon)

Frogmore Press Managing Editor Alexandra Loske welcomed a near capacity audience before handing over to Clare Best, who spoke about the background to her new work before reading a selection of the poems, which were delivered in both English and Italian. Frogmore Papers editor Jeremy Page then introduced the second part of the evening, with Frogmore co-founder André Evans reading his account of the Papers’ origins at the legendary Folkestone tea-rooms.

This was followed by readings from some of the more local contributors to the 100th edition: Stephen Bone (Newhaven), Neil Gower (Lewes/Berlin), Robin Houghton (Eastbourne), Wendy Klein (Lindfield), John O’Donoghue (Brighton), Peter Stewart (Lewes), Janet Sutherland (Lewes) and Margaret Wilmot (Selmeston).

This special issue of The Frogmore Papers is available post-free from The Frogmore Press, price £10.00. Clare Best’s End of Season is £12.00. Payment by cheque payable to The Frogmore Press, at 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ, or email frogmorepress@gmail.com for details of how to pay by BACS or PayPal.

Frogmore hits 100 not out

The Frogmore Papers have published their 100th edition in their fortieth year. Number one hundred includes poems by Simon Armitage, Dean Atta, Mike Barlow, John Freeman, Christine McNeill, Myra Schneider, Catherine Smith, Janet Sutherland and fifty-two other outstanding poets, including those shortlisted for this years’ 36th Frogmore Poetry Prize, which was won by County Antrim poet Laura Jenner. There is short fiction from D S Curran, Catherine Kelley, Denise McSheehy and Mike Lewis-Beck, artwork from Lydia McDonnell, and a look back to the Papers’ origins from Frogmore co-founder André Evans.

Neil Gower, who is also a contributor, has created stunning cover art for this celebratory issue.

Frogmore Papers No 100, with cover art by Neil Gower

And as part of their mission to ensure the enduring appreciation of the work of Frogmore poets who are no longer with us, this special edition of the Papers features an extended ‘from the archive’ section showcasing the work of Elizabeth Bartlett, Ruth Bidgood, James Brockway, Linda Chase, Sam Gardiner, Geoffrey Holloway, Judith Kazantzis, Matthew Mead, Peter Russell and Carole Satyamurti.

The Frogmore Papers number 100 will be launched at the Elephant & Castle, White Hill, Lewes on 28 September, alongside Clare Best’s new bilingual Frogmore publication End of Season. Doors 7.00 pm, readings from 7.30. All welcome.

This special issue is available post-free from The Frogmore Press, price £10.00. Payment by cheque payable to The Frogmore Press, at 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ, or email frogmorepress@gmail.com for details of how to pay by BACS or PayPal.

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 frogmorepress@gmail.com for details of how to pay by BACS or PayPal.

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: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2021/nov/24/henry-woolf-obituary

Jeremy Page, Editor of The Frogmore Papers

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 frogmorepress@gmail.com 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.

Spring arrives early: The Frogmore Papers No. 97 is out

The 97th edition of The Frogmore Papers (spring 2021) has arrived early and subscribers and contributors should already have received their copies. The issue has a striking cover by Sussex-based artist Fergus Hare and includes the usual selection of poetry, prose, artwork and reviews.

The Frogmore Papers No.97, with cover art by Fergus Hare

Contributors include Phil Bowen, Vuyelwa Carlin, Kathryn Daszkiewicz, Chris Hardy, Gill McEvoy, Sarah Salway, Myra Schneider and Merryn Williams. Here are a couple of poems from the issue:

Marguerite Doyle
CURE FOR A DOPPELGANGER

There is a woman who, for almost a year
has lived my life; drinking my tea,
eating my meals; sleeping in my bed.

I follow her when she gets the bus
to go browsing in bookshops; stare
at her between the shelves.

I watch her through windows on
open mic nights

and when she does poetry readings
I stand listening in the corridor.

She just laughs and rushes to meet
my friends; embraces them,

joins them for coffee in crowded
cafés while I wait, at a distance.

I don’t care. Someday soon her crime
will be found out; and I know—
that will be the unmasking, of me.

Julie Lumsden
THEOLOGY

When the young priest with dark eyes
suggested that Heaven was simply,
God’s space –

she felt she needed just a little more to go on –
the smell of lilies perhaps, a waxed floor,
white doves bearing billets-doux
from a pale bridegroom.

Copies of The Frogmore Papers number 97 are available for £5.00 (post free) from: The Frogmore Press, 21 Mildmay Road, Lewes BN7 1PJ. Payment by BACS or PayPal is also possible: please email frogmorepress@gmail.com for details.