Fiona Benson (b. 1978, Wroughton, Wiltshire) began keeping a special notebook for poetry, as distinct from song lyrics, at the age of 17. A Faber New Poet, her first collection, Bright Travellers (Cape), won the Seamus Heaney Prize. A second collection, Vertigo & Ghost, from which her shortlisted poem is taken, is forthcoming from Cape in 2019.
Benson describes ‘Ruins’ as ‘a poem that tries to look at a real, hardworking, postnatal, middle-aged body. I like that while it starts with dismay, it pivots on the recognition of the lopsided stomach into a celebration of what the body housed.’ She welcomes the new awareness and openness she discerns towards these themes in contemporary poetry. She describes the Forward shortlisting as ‘a validation of poems that write of the body, of the domestic realm, and of familial love, (it) says ‘yes, these subjects are of interest, they really matter…and I agree. They do’.