Mab Jones has picked Poetry Society Member Luke Palmer as winner of this year’s Prole Pamphlet Competition for Spring in the Hospital, which is available to purchase now from Prole. Fellow Member Scott Elder was Commended for My Hotel. A second Commendation went to Paul Jeffcutt for True.
Mab on Spring in the Hospital
After reading all entries, re-reading, reading again, sifting, re-reading, making notes on a spreadsheet, re-reading, drawing up a longlist, re-reading, drawing up a shortlist, reading again, making notes, and then drawing up a even shorter shortlist, which I read and re-read until my head ached, coming to a final decision was extremely difficult. In the end, Spring in the Hospital won out, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was extremely cohesive, the poems exploring a particular subject / setting (illness / disease / hospital), and this gave the pamphlet as a whole much depth and resonance. Although I’m not a stickler for the idea that pamphlets must always do so, some other submissions suffered from their lack of, at the very least, thematic coherence, jumping from theme to theme, subject to subject, with a variety of different styles and voices, so that the end effect was of a collection of ‘poems leftover from other projects’. Here, the feeling was that the writer journeyed across a certain landscape, stopping here and there to examine things in closer detail before continuing, with the over result that the reader (I) was pulled along, and purused those particular items, with them.
Secondly, the poems were very well formed, with an excellent mix of the graphic and florid, and a sublime use of space / breath / caesura. Each piece drew me in and left me, afterwards, with something – an astounding image, a feeling of shock, a heart-punch, a wondering or questioning. I not only felt totally engaged, but punched here, cwtched there, made to mull on this, made to query that, until the very end with that wonderful snow image which came back to me again and again. A really powerful, yet remarkably light and readable, series of poems. I read it many times and the poems remained sharp, succinct, intelligent and interesting, whilst also offering up something new each time. Springtime in the Hospital is a profoundly accomplished poetry pamphlet, in my opinion.
Mab on My Hotel
Again, this was a wonderfully cohesive series of poems, full of depth and intelligence, and with a pleasing amount of quirkiness and wry humour. I particularly enjoyed the variety of form and voice, here, with some poems containing more than one speaker / style of speech, and an interesting use of shape and / or spacing in others. A very well executed, excellently-written series of works.
16 November 2018