The Poetry Society is very pleased to announce the Peggy Poole Award: a new programme running alongside the National Poetry Competition, helping emerging writers develop their craft by giving them the chance to win a year of mentoring from a leading poet.
The Peggy Poole Award has been founded in memory of the poet and broadcaster Peggy Poole, who died in 2016 aged 91. It is made possible thanks to the generosity of Peggy’s extended family and many friends. The first poet mentor, who will also choose this year’s award winner, will be Deryn Rees-Jones.
The winner of the Peggy Poole Award will receive a year’s mentoring from Deryn Rees-Jones, culminating in a celebratory event in the North West of England where the mentor and mentee will both read their work. Deryn will select a winner of the Peggy Poole Award based on poems submitted to the National Poetry Competition by poets currently living in the North West of England.
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. Talking about what she looked for in a poem, Peggy said:
“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.”
Speaking about setting up the Award, her family said:
“The award is something Peggy wished for. We are delighted to work with The Poetry Society to continue the support she gave to poets when she was alive, providing opportunities for them to hone their craft.”
Peggy’s work for Radio Merseyside’s First Heard programme provided a platform for new voices, as did the events she co-ran for Jabberwocky, which also brought established poets such as Ted Hughes, Stephen Spender and Ursula Fanthorpe to the region. She was a consultant for BBC North West, and an honorary member of Liverpool’s Dead Good Poets’ Society and Ver Poets. She published many books over her lifetime, including several collections of her own poetry, and a Selected Poems in 2003. She edited Poet’s England 17: Cumbria (1995), Marigolds Grow Wild on Platforms (1996), her anthology of railway poems, and Perceptions (2000), a collection of poems by women.
To be eligible for the Peggy Poole Award, poets need to have entered the National Poetry Competition, adhering to all the associated rules, and be living in one of the following postcode regions: BB, BL, CA, CH, CW, FY, IM, L, M, OL, PR, SK, SN and WA. The Award runs alongside the National Poetry Competition, one of the biggest and most prestigious single poem competitions in the world, which attracts around 13,000 entries each year, from all around the UK and beyond. Judged anonymously, the competition puts established and emerging writers on a level playing field and the overall competition will be judged this year by Hannah Lowe, Andrew McMillan and Pascale Petit.
The closing date for the National Poetry Competition is 31 October 2017 and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Spring 2018.