Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014.
This is shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. The poems move on archaeological fast-forward from submerged Devonian forests and a Paleolithic cave-bear skull to the site of decommissioned submarines at HMNB Devonport, where the sea is 'still a torpedo-path, / an Armageddon road'. She explores the shared human continuum of bodily longing - from the Prehistoric maker of a wooden fertility fetish, to a modern-day couple wading through summer pollen - and the timeless cycles of conception, birth and child-rearing. A central sequence of dramatic monologues addressed to Van Gogh allows for a focussed exploration of depression, violence, passion and creativity. In these poems, as in all the poems in this impressive debut, we feel keenly the sense of life lived at the edge of threat - catastrophe, even - but also on the cusp of beauty and happiness. Other poems about the bewildering loss of miscarriage are hard to read and impossible to forget, moving with grace and authority through great grief to arrive at a hard-won destination of selfless, unqualified love. 'I remember again the corridor of the labour ward and that woman sitting weeping with her man having given birth to a death small grey face, no breath, something you cannot help but love - habibi, akushla, I go home alone but carry you, courie you, little slipped thing, to the ends of the earth.'
'Solemn scrutiny, intoxicating lyricism and a dark imagination.' -- Ben Wilkinson Guardian
'Hugely impressive... [Benson] has the modest exactitude of a true poet.' -- Kate Kellaway Observer
Publication date: 01/05/2014
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage
|Publication date:||1st May 2014|
|Publisher:||Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage|
|Categories:||Poetry by individual poets,|
Fiona Benson won an Eric Gregory Award in 2006 and a Faber New Poets Award in 2009. She lives near Exeter with her partner and their daughter.More About Fiona Benson