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About the Author

Welcome to the website of the English poet and critic, Ben Wilkinson.

Ben was born in the English Midlands and now lives in Sheffield, Yorkshire. He received his first degree from the University of Sheffield, and holds an MA and PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers' Award. His poems have frequently appeared in many publications, including The Guardian, The Poetry Review, The Rialto, The Spectator, and the TLS.   

His debut full collection of poems, Way More Than Luck, appeared from Seren Books in 2018, and was highly commended in the Forward Prizes for Poetry that year. A second collection is due in 2022.

With Kim Moore and Paul Deaton, he edited the anthology The Result is What You See Today: Poems About Running (smith|doorstop, 2019), endorsed by Jo Pavey MBE.

He is a keen distance runner, lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, and among other things he has worked as a freelance poetry critic for The Guardian and other publications for over a decade. You can find many of his reviews on this site.

To contact Ben about readings, workshops and commissions, you can drop him a line at benwilko(at sign) Unfortunately, Ben is not able to consider unsolicited requests from publishers or authors for book reviews.

You can follow Ben on Twitter - @BenWilko85 - and on Facebook.

You can find Ben's 'Power of 10' British Athletics profile here.


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Poetry in Motion

Why one Reds supporter is committing his love for Liverpool FC to verse

Liverpool FC and poetry have a lot of previous – from John Toshack’s Gosh It’s Tosh collection in the late 70s, to the verse of Dave Kirby and Peter Etherington in the fanzine Red All Over the Land, to the lines written by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a University of Liverpool graduate, in the aftermath of 2012’s Hillsborough findings. Now there’s Ben Wilkinson, Reds fan and book critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, who’s compiling a series of poems commemorating the club’s legends. “Football is part of the fabric of life, and anything that’s important to people finds its way into poetry,” he says. “Wilfred Owen’s poem 'Disabled' describes a soldier who loses the use of his legs, meaning he can never play football again. Philip Larkin’s 'MCMXIV' compares boys queuing to join the army to fans outside Villa Park. These poems have stood the test of time because t…

Way More Than Luck: 27.2.18 - the launch

Way More Than Luck (Seren Books, 2018)

From the thumping heartbeat of the distance runner to the roar of football terraces across the decades, Ben Wilkinson’s debut confronts the struggles and passions that come to shape a life. Beginning with an interrogation of experiences of clinical depression and the redemptive power of art and running, the collection centres on a series of vivid character portraits, giving life to some of football's legends. By turns frank, comic, sinister and meditative – ‘the trouble with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head’ – these poems uncover the beautiful game’s magic and absurdity, hopes and disappointments, as striking metaphors for our everyday dramas. Elsewhere there are tender love poems, political satire and strange dream worlds, in an urgently lyrical book of poems that take many forms and modes of address: pantoum, sonnet, sestina; epistle, confession, dramatic monologue. All are united by a desire to speak with searching clarity about matters of the heart. Way More …