National Poetry Competition 2021 judges podcast: Fiona Benson, David Constantine and Rachel Long
The Poetry Society
Ben Rogers of The Poetry Society speaks to this year's National Poetry Competition judges Fiona Benson, David Constantine and Rachel Long in a wide-ranging conversation that contemplates the perpetual dynamism of reading, where to find inspiration, poems as little creatures, the nature of poetic truth, and how and when to end a poem. The National Poetry Competition is open until 31 October, open to all poets worldwide aged 18+ at www.npc.poetrysociety.org.uk
It was the first days of spring when Laura Barton spoke to our third podcast guest, the Forward Prize winning poet Fiona Benson. Speaking about the itinerant rhythms of growing up in an RAF family, of boarding school and academia, the pleasing rhythms of a settled life in rural Devon and how each has shaped her poetry. Fittingly for this spring season Fiona shares her poem Almond Blossom to ease us out of winter into a hopeful and trusting green havoc.TOAST Podcast Series 5 is presented by Laura Barton and produced by Geoff Bird. Music for this season was written and performed by Laura James. All views expressed in the podcast are the interviewees own and not necessarily those of TOAST.
In this week’s episode, award-winning poets Fiona Benson and Julia Copus join Rachael and Jack in the studio and there are audio postcards from Morgan Parker, Bobby Parker and Wendy Cope. See here for the full show notes, author bios and links. Trigger warning: Please note that this episode’s second audio postcard features details relating to sexual trauma. Listen to this episode and subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss forthcoming episodes from the new season and (should you be so inclined) please rate and review us so that other poetry-lovers can discover the show. Thank you for listening!
Fiona Benson’s Vertigo & Ghost (Jonathan Cape), the follow-up to her award-winning 2014 debut Bright Travellers, is one of the most hotly-anticipated poetry collections of 2019. Its harrowing central sequence is a retelling of Greek myth, depicting Zeus as a serial rapist; other poems, including the Forward-shortlisted ‘Ruins’, engage with depression, female sexuality and early motherhood. Fiona was in conversation with Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under (Jonathan Cape), shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
“I think shame is very unhelpful, that taboos can be very unhelpful – maybe we should try and be as brave as our poems.” Fiona Benson, author of the prize-winning collection Bright Travellers, talks to Review Editor Emily Berry, about her new collection Vertigo & Ghost, forthcoming from Cape in 2019. They consider questions of shame, permission and catharsis, the challenges of working with difficult material and ‘breaking through’ – the ways in which writing works to bring the inside outside, and the influence of writers such as Sylvia Plath, Sharon Olds and Lucille Clifton. Benson also reflects on the sublime and its possibilities in contemporary poetry, with reference to Whitman, Rilke and Ginsberg. She reads her astonishing poems ‘Fly’ and ‘[Zeus] Anatomical Dolls’, both first published in The Poetry Review. To connect with more poetry, visit poetrysociety.org.uk
2016 is set up to be a real doozie of a year, with the World Indoor Championships this winter, the Olympics in the summer and about 100 meaningful races between, that will tell 1000 more stories that will shape the year in Canadian running. On this week's show we talk with a runner who had an astronomical 2015 and who is sure to soar even higher in 2016... Fiona Benson joins us from Calgary to chat training, keeping track relevant, and the importance of great coaching. We also check in with our recurring run pundit, Jeff Costen, as he gazes into his crystal ball to see what the winter holds in store and just what the results from this past fall mean.