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Alan’s poems have won several national and international prizes. These include The Wilfred Owen Memorial Prize in 2014, presented at the Winchester Literature Festival by the eminent Northern Ireland poet Michael Longley; the 2003 Petra Kenney Prize, judged by former poet laureate Andrew Motion; the Plough Prize (judge, Ian McMillan) in 2006, the inaugural Wigtown Prize (judge, Don Paterson) in the same year and the Southport International Poetry Competition.

These prize-winning poems have all now been published on this website, together for the first time. There are many more to come, other poems that were commended in various competitions, and many more that we both love, some of which have been published elsewhere in collections, and some being published for the first time. In due course, we will also be posting some videos of him reading. Find out more about the poems.

Alan Franks
Alan has won five poetry competitions and been runner-up in many more.

The Place of the Poem

Alan has often thought it would be a nice idea to visit the places behind some of England’s most popular and enduring poems, and to ask why they have lasted so well. Is it simply because they are good, or written by already celebrated authors, or is it because the places that brought them about are themselves special in some way?

Is it a combination of all these factors? Does plain luck play a part in their exposure and their influence? And what does “good” mean anyway? Are these poems considered such because they make their meaning plain and their description clear, or do they gain our interest through some enticing degree of obscurity?

Find out more about The Place of the Poem.

Edward Thomas and Adlestrop

Adlestrop
‘What I saw was Adlestrop – only the name.’

Matthew Arnold and On Dover Beach

The Place of the Poem by Alan Franks and Ruth Gledhill
‘…the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back…’

(The lead photograph on this page, of Alan with his pilgrim staff, is by Will Parsons. We have used some historic photographs that are in the public domain and credited accordingly. All other photos on this website are by Ruth Gledhill.)