The Peggy Poole Award helps emerging writers develop their craft, and gives poets in the North West of England the chance to win a year of mentoring from a leading poet, running alongside the National Poetry Competition, The award is in memory of the poet and broadcaster Peggy Poole and made possible thanks to the generosity of her extended family and many friends.
Peggy Poole was a passionate advocate for the ongoing vitality of poetry in the North West, and championed new and emerging poets in the region. Peggy’s work for Radio Merseyside’s First Heard programme provided a platform for new voices, as did the events which she co-ran for Jabberwocky, which also attracted established poets such as Ted Hughes, Stephen Spender and Ursula Fanthorpe. She was a consultant for BBC North West, and an honorary member of Liverpool’s Dead Good Poets’ Society and Ver Poets.
Her collections include Never a Put-up Job (1970), Cherry Stones: And Other Poems (1983), Hesitations (1990), Trusting the Rainbow (1994), From the Tide’s Edge (1999), and more. Her Selected Poems was published in 2003. She edited Poet’s England 17: Cumbria (1995), her anthology of railway poems Marigolds Grow Wild on Platforms (1996), and Perceptions (2000), a collection of poems by women.
“What do I look for? I keep an open mind, but look for: that touch of originality, that right combination of words, that vivid image, that musicality of sounds, that instant ‘YES’, that delight in a real poem, that joy in a fine piece of work. And I don’t mind where it comes from or from whom, and I don’t mind if it’s simple or complex – if it’s a true poem I’ll recognise it.” Peggy Poole
The mentor for 2018 is Michael Symmons Roberts.
Michael Symmons Roberts was born in 1963 in Preston, Lancashire, UK. He trained as a newspaper journalist before joining the BBC in Cardiff as a radio producer in 1989. He moved with the BBC to London, then to Manchester, initially in radio, then as a documentary filmmaker.
His 4th book of poetry – Corpus – was the winner of the 2004 Whitbread Poetry Award, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for best collection, and the Griffin International Prize. His 6th collection – Drysalter – was the winner of the 2013 Forward Prize and the Costa Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.
He has previously received the Society of Authors’ Gregory Award for British poets under 30, the K Blundell Trust Award, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for his 2001 collection Burning Babylon. In 2007 he received a major Arts Council Writers Award.
Edgelands (2011) and Deaths of the Poets (2017) – his two nonfiction books co-written with the poet Paul Farley – were published by Cape in hardback and Vintage in paperback. Edgelands won the Jerwood Non-Fiction Prize and the Foyles Book of Ideas Award, and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize.
He is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, is married with three sons and lives near Manchester.
The winner of the 2017 Peggy Poole Award was Yvonne Reddick, who will undertake a series of workshops with poet-mentor Deryn Reese-Jones, culminating in a reading in early 2019.
To be eligible for the Peggy Poole Award, you just need to enter the National Poetry Competition and be living in one of the following postcode regions: BB, BD, BL, CA, CH, CW, FY, IM, L, LA, M, OL, PR, SK, WN and WA. When you make your entry, you’ll be able to opt in to being considered for the award.
The National Poetry Competition is open for entries in 2018. You can enter online at: npc.poetrysociety.org.uk