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Sussex staff and alumni numbered among Lewes poets in new anthology
Could Lewes be the poetry capital of the UK?
It’s a possibility that literary publishers are celebrating with the launch of a new anthology of lyrical works written by the resident poets of the historic East Sussex town (pop. 16,000).
Poems FromThe Old Hill (the title of which refers to an old downland nickname for Lewes), an anthology published by the Frogmore Press on September 28, features the work of no less than 20 published and prize-winning Lewes poets.
A number of alumni, students and staff of the University are featured poets (Liz Bahs, Charlotte Gann, Julia O’Brien, Jeremy Page, Robin Houghton, Patrick Bond, Judith Kazantzis, Rachel Playforth, Clare Best and Catherine Smith), which might in part account for the high proportion of writers, alongside the town’s inspirational setting in the beautiful South Downs.
Contributors can also lay claim to no fewer than three Cholmondeley Awards (Grace Nichols, Judith Kazantzis, John Agard), a Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Grace Nichols), a Paul Hamlyn Award (John Agard), and nominee for the Forward Prize (Catherine Smith), Seamus Heaney Centre Prize 2012 and Michael Marks Award 2012 (Charlotte Gann) and a Next Generation poet (Catherine Smith).
Jeremy Page, co-founder of the Frogmore Press, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, is also Deputy Director of the Sussex Centre for Language Studies at the University. He explains the idea behind the Lewes-inspired anthology, which he has edited: “I was struck by the concentration of poets in Lewes and felt their work deserved to be collected between the covers of an anthology that would take the town’s poetic pulse.”
Poems from the Old Hill will be launched at a special event on National Poetry Day (4 October 2012) at the Old Needlemakers in Lewes. The event will start at 7.45pm (doors 7pm). Admission £5. Readers will be Kay Syrad, Joe Sheerin, Julia O’Brien, Robin Houghton, Marek Urbanowicz and Patrick Bond.
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