The Frogmore Poetry Prize Winners 2003
 


Adjudicators Report
and winning entries

 

Beyond formal skills, whether in free verse or metrics or something combined of the two traditions, I looked for an element of surprise, but beyond that, for some obsessive, even fierce, note. Something personal, yes, whether reserved and implicit or offered freely; but original. The poem had to carry me off emotionally, sensually; then I was open to its argument. A striking image certainly, striking use of metaphor perhaps, or symbolic suggestion. Poetry serious or satirical, political or interior, sociable, funny (humour: a national Bechers Brook at which most fell), passionate or striving or surreally quixotic, the mood or theme didn’t matter. (My own predilections or views were irrelevant if the poem was strong, except towards the bitter end where as usual equally interesting and good poems had to compete for a place.) Generally speaking, the theme didn’t matter as long as the poem transformed itself convincingly to a new kind of meaning, whether subtly or boldly registered. I had an eye out for those poems whose indefinable arrival (to sound like Marquez) were there in the travelling. An inconclus is a lovely thing, where there is feeling.

Language-wise, word and syntax, I looked for intriguing, mobile, and at least some beautiful or powerful lines. This meant avoiding the trap of the predictable; which always showed itself in banal language, (hen or egg? Which comes first?). Banality included equally the sentimental (so many) and the too cerebral. While banality was easy to reject when obvious, nearer the endgame it’s more chancy. Judging a poetry prize by yourself exposes your own shy idiosyncrasies.

But after all the angel/pin balancing feats involved, I am happy with the ten I ended with: their spread of mood, tone, freedom with language, subjects in short their moving, different gifts. Not to forget enjoying many good passages or even single lines in poems I reluctantly put aside.

Judith Kazantzis
Lewes
August 2003

There were 484 submissions for the Prize.
The winner (by David Angel), runners-up(by Lynne Wycherley and Jamie Walsh) and shortlisted poems appear below

          
 
The winner, and runners-up
COMMUTING (David Angel)
CAROLINE HERSCHEL’S VIGIL (Lynne Wycherley)
A BLESSING (Jamie Walsh)

Shortlisted entries
FRANCOIS COUPERIN (David Angel)
CAN YOU HEAR THEM? ( Peter Easter)
DECIDUOUS (John Latham)
PICNIC ON THE ROCKS, WITH FROG (Caroline Price)
MY DAUGHTER, SUNDAY MASS (Pauline Rowe)
SONG OF SIXPENCE (Pauline Rowe)
THE REPRIEVE (Jamie Walsh)


 

 

 

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