Fiona Benson - photo credit Adrian Pope

Fiona Benson

Fiona Benson (b. 1978, Wroughton) won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2019 with Vertigo & Ghost, a collection whose central sequence was an astonishingly vivid reworking of Greek myth. Her forthcoming collection from Cape, Ephemeron, also features a long mythic sequence, from which her shortlisted poem ‘Androgeus’ is drawn. ‘It is a retelling of the minotaur myth, which tries to reinstate Pasiphaë, the minotaur’s mother, at the center of the story’, writes Benson. ‘Androgeus is her firstborn son, who is killed by a bull in mainland Greece.’

‘Androgeus’, and the sequence to which it belongs, were written during the first lockdown in 2020. ‘I thought at the time that I was indulging in a great act of escapism, travelling in my imagination to sun drenched Greece. But looking back at them they are all about being trapped.’

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2020 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, shortlisted for ‘Mama Cockroach, I Love You’ (Poetry London)
  • 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection, winner for Vertigo & Ghost (Cape)
  • 2018 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, shortlisted for ‘Ruins’ (Wild Court)
  • 2014 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, shortlisted for Bright Travellers (Cape)
Photo credit: Adrian Pope