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-judge for 2021 is the poet Paul Farley. Paul 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.
Paul Farley was born in Liverpool and studied at the Chelsea School of Art. His Selected Poems was published by Picador Macmillan in 2014, and his work has received many accolades, including the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. A familiar broadcaster, he presented BBC radio’s contemporary poetry programme The Echo Chamber, and his latest collection, The Mizzy, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Book Awards in 2020.
The winner of the 2017 Peggy Poole Award was Yvonne Reddick, who was mentored by Deryn Rees-Jones. The 2018 winner was Mark Pajak, who was mentored by Michael Symmons Roberts. The 2019 winner was Saiqa Khushnood, who was mentored by Malika Booker. Last year’s winner Maria Isakova-Bennett is now being mentored by Vona Groarke and this new mentorship will culminate in a celebratory reading in the North West in Spring/ Summer 2022.
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, HD, HX, 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 and the closing date is 31st October 2021. You can enter online at: npc.poetrysociety.org.uk