Photo: Fiona Benson. Photo credit: Gareth Franklin.
Fiona Benson (b. 1978, Wroughton) was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2018. The poem, ‘Ruins’, is part of the second half of Vertigo and Ghost, dealing with what the book describes as ‘the complex and ambivalent terrain of early motherhood’. The first half is dominated by the terrifying sequence ‘Zeus’, which makes palpable the sexualised violence latent in Greek mythology.
Benson published the first pamphlet in the Faber New Poets series. Reviewing her debut collection, Bright Travellers, Ben Wilkinson described how she ‘treat[s] the poem as a kind of secular prayer’, and indeed many of the poems in Vertigo & Ghost arrive at prayer as their destination or end-point: the last words of the final poem in the collection, ‘Eurofighter Tycoon’, are ‘Mary Mother of God have mercy, mercy on us all.’