Fiona Benson

Fiona Benson photo

Fiona Benson (b. 1978 Wroughton) began keeping a poetry notebook at 17 on hearing that someone she knew wrote poetry. Suddenly, poetry ‘seemed permissible and possible’. She discovered Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson at this time. Although she considered becoming an actor or a lawyer, she says ‘poetry just gradually became the thing I depended on’.

Bright Travellers is arranged in sequences on miscarriage, childbirth and motherhood, interspersed with stand-alone bridging poems. One sequence, ‘Love-Letter to Vincent’, is inspired by Van Gogh and is written in the voice of his prostitute mistress. Benson says there is ‘a certain amount of slippage between this voice and my more usual lyric I’.

In 2006 Benson won an Eric Gregory Award and a Faber New Poets Award.