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Showing posts from July, 2014

The Pride and the Passion

'John Barnes', a poem from my sequence of Kopite Sonnets on Liverpool FC Legends, has been shortlisted in The Pride and the Passion: Offside Stories, a competition celebrating the best poetry and prose about the beautiful game.

The poem centres on Barnes' incredible flair and ability as a player, but also the racist abuse and intolerance he suffered and - to his great credit - rose above, during his incredible career for Liverpool and England.

Judged by poet, broadcaster and all-round good guy Ian McMillan, and Derby County FC's current captain, Shaun Barker, the overall winners will be announced next week.

Get in there my son!

For Real (Smith|Doorstop, 2014)

'No. The catch was what you could never
let go. It's what you carried, and still do.' from 'The Catch'

‘Technically adroit, Ben Wilkinson’s poems are also willing to wear their heart on their sleeve. Lyrical and sometimes wistful, the best poems have a spoken contemporary quality. There is a great deal of promise in this striking collection. –  Carol Ann Duffy
Powerfully-shaped, moving poems, lit by sound and story, that demand to be read aloud ... Wilkinson’s poems carry a brutal sense of menace and movement ... I salute Wilkinson’s confidence in true rhyme.’
–  Alison Brackenbury

‘The verse inFor Realis brave, and hugely authentic.’ Matthew Stewart, Rogue Strands
Ben Wilkinson is one to watch. A fine poet with a deft ear and a nice sense of how the external world presses on the inner one. –  Nick Laird

Filmic, phantasmagoric, super-realist – in For Real, Ben Wilkinson shoots the rapids of the emerging twenty-first century’s i…

Review: Fiona Benson's Bright Travellers

Never mind movements, schools and styles: fundamentally, there are two types of poet – those who see spirits, and those who just drink them. As Sean O'Brien noted when reviewing her Faber New Poets pamphlet in these pages in 2009, Fiona Benson is a sober, contemplative sort. But as her first full collection Bright Travellers reveals, she is as much drawn to the metaphysical as to the mystical, treating the poem as a kind of secular prayer.

The opener, "Caveat", may be a terse appraisal of the cactus, its "moist heart" and "store of water / held beneath its spines" a working model of life's resilience in the face of inevitable hurt. But, elsewhere, a poem such as "Lares" is a full-blown hymn to the "small ghost" of a bird, conjuring this "noosed spirit of the eaves" as gatekeeper of a hidden world beyond our everyday outlook. Benson often draws on personal experience in her writing – wading "thigh-deep in pollen&qu…

"For you, the catch wasn't something caught..." - 'The Catch', The Saturday Poem in the Guardian

More than a little chuffed to announce that The Saturday Poem in today's Guardian is 'The Catch', from my new prize-winning pamphlet of poems, For Real.

You can read it here.

For Real is available to buy through this website, the Poetry Business shop, the Guardian bookshop, or Amazon.

The Saturday poem: The Catch
— Guardian Books (@GuardianBooks) July 5, 2014

For Real wins Northern Promise Poetry Award

Delighted to announce that my new pamphlet of poems, For Real, has picked up the Northern Promise Award from New Writing North, as part of the 2014 Northern Writers' Awards.

The prize is a cash fund to buy time to develop my work, writing new poems that will make up my first full-length collection of poetry.

A brilliant ceremony, and an honour to be in the company of many talented new poets and prose writers alike.

Check out the press release here for more info.