Fiona Benson (b. 1978, Wroughton) won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2019, with Vertigo and Ghost. ‘Mama Cockroach, I Love You’ playfully extends some of the themes which characterised the second half of that book: motherhood, acts of caring, vulnerable bodies, ‘all the liquors and gravy // of the obscene world’.
The poem is part of an online ‘audio pamphlet’ about insects, currently in preparation, which combines interviews with scientists, Benson’s poetry and innovative sound design. She is also working on some poems about school, and poems drawing on the myths of Europa, Pasiphaë and Crete. ‘Perhaps, for myself, I want to write more towards the light, more towards gratitude for this blessed life’, she writes.
Listen to Bioluminescent Baby, the collaboration between Fiona Benson, Mair Bosworth and Eliza Lomas which lead to Fiona writing ‘Mama Cockroach, I Love You’.
Forward Prizes History:
Photo credit: Adrian Pope