Bioluminescent Baby by Fiona Benson (Guillemot Press)

Tears in the Fence

The mesmerising rhythm and sense of longing of Fiona Benson’s most recent collection accompany the reader in the world of arthropods. This elegant edition published by Guillemot Press includes woodcut illustrations by Anupa Gardner that counterbalance in an essential style the rich and sensual poems. The physical description of the insects and the parallel exploration of the potentials of language offer a transcendent quality that characterises the collection in a cycle of life and death that passes through mating. As Benson remarks in the acknowledgements, the poems were commissioned by Arts and Culture at the University of Exeter for 2019–2020’s Project Urgency. The poems are also part of sound piece collaborations with sound artists Mair Bosworth and Eliza Lomas.

Compared to her previous collections,Bright Travellers(Cape Poetry 2014) andVertigo and Ghost(Cape Poetry 2019),Bioluminescent Babystill lingers on the topic of love and procreation but does not…

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