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Poetry Saturday at Hay Studio, Wadebridge on Saturday 7th February 2015 with Fiona Benson

Fiona Benson




Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival is pleased to announce our second ‘Poetry Saturday’, hosted by Hay Studio near Wadebridge, on Saturday 7th February, 1- 5pm.

Our featured poet will be FIONA BENSON, one of Britain’s most exciting and original younger poets. Fiona was an Eric Gregory and Faber New Poets Award winner in 2006, a runner-up in the Manchester Poetry Prize in 2012, and published her first full collection Bright Travellers (Cape) in 2014, for which she was shortlisted for both the Forward and T.S Eliot Poetry Prizes.

In The Guardian Ben Wilkinson says: Fiona Benson is as much drawn to the metaphysical as to the mystical, treating the poem as a kind of secular prayer. ..she rarely trades in simple anecdotes. Instead, her poems make a bid for what Michael Donaghy called the “alchemical payoff”, mixing solemn scrutiny, intoxicating lyricism and a dark imagination in pursuit of the strangeness beneath the habitual. …. “Love-Letter to Vincent”, though, is the book’s most sustained achievement. In these dramatic monologues Benson ventriloquises the prostitute-lover of the tortured Van Gogh, taking the titles of his canvases as a stepping-off point and framing device to paint portraits as intelligent and touching as they are visceral and grim.

Bright Travellers

In The Observer Kate Kellaway says: One of the attractive things about the collection is the way personal poems (about family) and more impersonal poems (about landscape) sit together so well and sometimes merge. In ‘Poem for James’ (to her husband), what is especially charming is that she claims he has forgotten the scene she records. She places him as a figure in a landscape:

…But there you were, waist-deep in saffron,
your long arms folded and every hair on them
glowing like bronze, your red hair on fire
and your dark eyes attentive, though you don’t remember,
which is why I’m writing it down, from the goldenrod in bloom
to your nimbus of insects lit by the sun.

The final poem, ‘Daughter Song’, does this too. Nature again plays its part, no better behaved than hitherto, even allowing a drowned fox to float to the surface. It is one of the collection’s most beautiful pieces …a free and enraptured ballad, at once elegiac and forward-looking. And the absence of punctuation and especially of a final full stop is fitting to its love-without-end subject.

Further details of the day, and how to book:


1pm – 3-15pm Poetry Workshop with Fiona Benson‘Stepping Into the Picture’ –

How do contemporary poets use the work of visual artists as inspiration? Is it possible to find a new freedom to say the things that our poems need to say when we step into the picture? What voices are released? This workshop will take contemporary poems inspired by visual art as luminaries for our own art-inspired poems. Workshop attendees may bring an image or two of artworks they are particularly drawn to for work in the session, but images will also be provided. Suitable for beginners and more experienced poets.

3-15pm – 4pmTea and chat

4pm – 5pmPoetry Reading with Fiona and Ann Gray, co-director of BMPF, and award-winning poet. Ann has published four collections of poetry, and won the E10,000 Ballymaloe Poetry Prize in 2014. She also cares for people with dementia.

The workshop is limited to a maximum of 16 places so please book beforehand.

Tea and cakes, and the poetry reading will be included in the fee for the day which is ONLY £15 !!! Bookings please via Hay Studio – details below.

Anyone wishing to come just for the reading will be charged £3 on the door.

Hay Studio, Trenewth. Tel – 01208 832574 Bookings can be made by telephone or on the website. Full directions to Hay are also on the website. and


** BMPF acknowledges the financial assistance of Arts Council England Arts for All National Lottery Funding for this event **

Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival, 30th May to 1st June 2014, Sterts Theatre, Upton Cross, Liskeard

Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival


The festival has a very strong Celtic flavour, including performers from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as wellas Cornwall. It will welcome the National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, world-bestselling author Louis de Bernieres and Irish poet Maurice Riordan – the new editor of Britain’s foremost poetry journal, Poetry Review, to name just a few. This will be a packed weekend of readings, talks, workshops, film, theatre and music, as well as art-work by Sir Peter Blake and Guy Gormley. We feature everything from the hippest young poets on the block from London, to the Greek of Constantine Cavafy, to the Welsh legend Dylan Thomas, via Persia (Mimi Khalvati )and back to St. Eval and Launceston (Jane Darke/Jim Causley).

You can download the full programme for Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival 2014 here: Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival 2014


You can book tickets here: