GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Ben Banyard was born in Solihull in 1975 and moved to the West Country in 1994 to read English Literature and Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Plymouth’s Exmouth campus.
It was during this period that Ben began to write poetry, although it wasn’t until joining Jo Bell’s 52 Group (‘write a poem a week – start now – keep going’) two decades later that he started to take writing seriously. Since then he has published over 60 poems in print and online in The Interpreter’s House, Popshot, Prole, Sarasvati, Reach Poetry, London Grip, The Broadsheet, The Dawntreader, The Open Mouse and many others.
In January 2015 he launched a blog, Clear Poetry, which publishes accessible contemporary work by newcomers and old hands alike;
you can follow it at https://clearpoetry.wordpress.com
Ben lives in Portishead, near Bristol, with his wife Natalie and twins Daisy and Jack.
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
PUB: 19TH FEBRUARY 2016
Communing focuses on our relationships with family, birth, life, love, loss and place. It is an intensely personal collection shot through with flashes of gentle humour. It is the author’s debut pamphlet.
“Ben Banyard’s impressive debut is notable for the way it not only documents a particular stage in the poet’s life, the loss of his mother, the birth of his children, but also succeeds in transforming these experiences and making them universal. Reading it I had a strong, disquieting sense of the fragility of life and of its beauty. A lovely book”
“Ben Banyard conveys his themes of familial loss and remembrance through beautifully observed domestic details. These familiar moments, like the old telephone number that you never forget, connect us to our own experience”
There was that first Wednesday night
you didn’t ring. No news of Whatsername,
mother of Thingybob, the one that ran off
with Doodah, who worked on the checkout
at Co-op and had facial hair.
Or that first time I reminded dad
of something you used to laugh at,
something blackly funny like that woman,
who was in an accident and could only
walk sideways, who we spied as we
crawled along behind you and the horses.
There was that first time I listened to
Kate Rusby, felt her voice catch me
and place me beside you on your sofa,
with the cat treadling your knees and the
smell of oranges and mothballs all around.
There aren’t many more first times left;
they’re so quietly chalked off that sometimes
I don’t even notice them flit by.
In the church’s stone chill, we tune out the drone
knowing to kneel here, mutter there, not quite sing.
We gather for our dearests’ rites, bedecked,
it is the end product that means most.
We feel the steps, when to hold or release;
like those sixties dance crazes, we’re in synch.
We get through it, passing the smokers
on our way out, armed with silver, rice, soil.