The Peggy Poole Award is a new programme helping emerging writers develop their craft, which runs alongside the National Poetry Competition, and gives poets in the North West of England the chance to win a year of mentoring from a leading poet. 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 2017 is Deryn Rees-Jones.
Deryn Rees-Jones was born in Liverpool with family links to North Wales, where she later studied. She won an Eric Gregory award in 1993 and The Memory Tray (Seren,1995) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her other works are Signs Round a Dead Body (Seren, 1998), Quiver (Seren, 2004) and a groundbreaking critical study of twentieth-century women’s poetry, Consorting with Angels (Bloodaxe, 2005), which was published alongside her accompanying anthology Modern Women Poets (Bloodaxe, 2005).
In 2004 she was named as one of Mslexia’s ‘top ten’ women poets of the decade, as well as being chosen as one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation poets. In 2010 she received a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors. Burying the Wren was published by Seren in 2012; it was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and a Times Literary Supplement book of the year.
A regular collaborator with contemporary artists, her most recent works are And You, Helen (Seren, 2014), a book and animated poem made with the artist Charlotte Hodes about the wife and widow of the poet Edward Thomas, and What It’s Like to Be Alive: Selected Poems (Seren, 2016). She is Professor of Poetry at the University of Liverpool, and is the editor of the new Pavilion Poetry series for Liverpool University Press.
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 currently closed for entries, and will re-open in summer 2018.