The Frogmore Poetry Prize Winners 2007

Adjudicators Report
and winning entries


If poetry prize adjudicators could decide the Premier League winners, then Charlton might well be champions. Unfortunately they can't, so they have to be content to vent their prejudices and preconceptions on other people's writing.

Trying to pick a winner from a huge number of differently presented and stylistically varied poems is a difficult task, but in the end it is the poems which appeal to the adjudicator in some way either in structure, content or shared experience which tip the balance in their favour.

My opening selection created two piles, The-Ones-I-Liked-A-Lot and The-Ones-I-Liked. They ended up about even. In fact the less loved pile, on re-reading, produced one of my final batch. The really difficult bit was making a selection from the last ten, or in my case the last twelve, because they were all outstanding. In the end I took a final swig of wine and gave the nod to 'Edward Thomas Memorial Walk'. It is an exceptionally well-constructed and united poem which captures the love of untamed nature and the underlying melancholy of place which is redolent of Thomas's own writing. Besides, and
here is where the Charlton effect comes in, Edward Thomas is amongst my favourite writers and I feel this poem does justice to him.

Two final swigs saw 'Nocturne Aldeburgh Beach' and 'Common English Errors' fill the next two spots.

'Nocturne Aldeburgh Beach' is a fine poem. The metaphor is expertly maintained and never laboured and the vagaries and music of the sea is well caught. I liked, too, the deftness of image and the economy of language.

'Common English Errors' is an antidote to naval gazing. This sit-com poem with its surreal and droll, ambiguous humour works on several levels. Read in private or listened to in public it would amuse and provoke discussion. Or one could turn it into a Harry Enfield sketch. And just laugh at it.

The remaining seven were just unlucky. They were knocking on the door. Reluctantly I had to relegate two: 'Last Of The Lovage' and 'Sonnet: Plea To The Postman'. Put it down to the wine!

Joe Sheerin
June 2007

The winner, and runners-up

Shortlisted entries
HERON (Mara Bergman)
STONE ( Margaret Eddershaw)
THE LOVERS (Gillian Rathbone)
DREAM MUSEUM (Michael Read)
MARTHA AND MARY (Lynn Roberts)
WINTER LOVING (Anne Stewart)
FEN (Mick Wood)