Adjudicator Maggie Butt has awarded the 31st Frogmore PoetryPrize to Emily Wills.
This is the third time Emily has won the Prize: her previous successes were in 2012 (awarded by Janet Sutherland) and 2013 (awarded by Stephanie Norgate). She joins the distinguished company of Caroline Price, another three-times winner, and John Latham and Howard Wright, who have both won twice. Emily works as a GP in Gloucestershire and her latest collection is Unmapped (The Rialto, 2014).
Maggie Butt says the winning poem, ‘Her Labour’s Fruits’, ‘leapt out at me from the first reading. The first line ‘the buttery cool of milk just on the turn,’ held promise which was fulfilled over and over again with sensual images, tastes and colours. I was immersed and then led into the slow reveal of the viewpoint of the speaker, the accomplished way the poet trusts the reader to complete the story.’
Runner-up Vaughan Pilikian, a film-maker and Sanskrit scholar, was a candidate for the Oxford Professorship of Poetry in 2010. His 15-line, single-sentence poem ‘May It Be You’ uses vivid imagery ‘fluted/in plainsong,/ shuttled in the blood,’ musical repetition and religious allusions to create a multi-faceted and jewel-like love poem.’ Maggie advises: ‘Read it to someone you love!’
Other poets shortlisted for this year’s Prize were Nicola Daly, Sarah Doyle, Alan Dunnett, Jonathan Edwards, Katie Hale, Anthony Head, Sarah Wallis and Mary Williams. In addition, ‘Surfer’ by Emily Wills also reached the shortlist.