Lee Stockdale is an American poet, Episcopalian, and army veteran. He won the prestigious UK National Poetry Competition Prize 2022 for his poem “My Dead Father’s General Store in the Middle of a Desert” (read it here).
His father, Grant Stockdale, was a close friend of John F. Kennedy; Lee’s mother, Alice Boyd Magruder, was a poet.
On the podcast this week, Lee Stockdale talks to Sarah Meyrick about his shock at winning the prize, which had more than 17,000 entries. Former winners include Sinéad Morrissey, Ruth Padel, and Carol Ann Duffy.
“I really believe the Holy Spirit just thought, here’s a poem that may be not just literary, whatever that is, but could perhaps be helpful and healing. I think that’s what happened,” he says.
It is “a gift”, he says, because the poem refers to his father’s death by suicide when Lee was 11. “I’m now 70, and I’ve worked through that. I’ve come out on the other side.” He hopes that his poem offers hope.
Lee’s debut collection, Gorilla, was published last year.
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