Friendly poet takes leading prize

Philip Gross wins national award

Bloodaxe Books

Philip Gross, the 2010 TS Eliot poetry prizewinner is a Quaker from Penarth Glamorgan.

This year Philip will be running a course at the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham with his wife Zelie exploring the place of water in art – the TS Eliot prize was awarded him for his anthology of poems The Water Table.

Philip says that water – the main ingredient of life on earth and in our bodies – is a neverending source of imagery in art and poetry.

Philip has been running poetry courses for Quakers at Woodbrooke for a number of years, exploring the silence that Friends embrace in their worship, and the natural world as experienced through gardens. The garden at Woodbrooke, known for jjits tranquillity and beauty and its walled garden, inspired Philip to write ‘From the Word Garden’

apothecary’s rose  
        angelica archangelic

lady’s mantle   sweet violet

        (some monkish attention
has labelled them all
in felt pen bed by bed)

oxslips evening primrose
    sorrel sage (all human life
is here) and self-heal
    winter savory

Artemisia absinthum

    (lovely words
for wormwood)
    all you dumb leaves

all you worms and woodlice
      pray for us

  (mostly found from the Walled Garden, Woodbrooke)

Philip will be reading from The Water Table and I Spy Pinhole Eye (with photographs by Simon Denison) at the Quaker Centre café in Friends House, Euston road on Wednesday 24 February at 6pm. 


You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.