Profile: Fiona Benson

Forward Prize winning poet gets a close look. (One sitting? Not fair.)

A number of these poems were written in a single burst, one half-term when she was visiting her parents with her children, and had an evening to herself. When she brought them to her editor at Cape, the poet Robin Robertson, “I was practically crying, because I didn’t know what he’d make of them.” He encouraged her, and sent her back to Ovid’s Metamorphoses to do more. Benson’s reforging of episodes from that work of transformations is spectacular, turning the Roman poet’s sometimes voyeuristic rapes (very much seen from “outside”, and often troublingly aestheticised) inwards into the female body.

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