Vertigo & Ghost

Vertigo & Ghost

Summary


**WINNER OF THE FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST COLLECTION 2019**
**WINNER OF THE ROEHAMPTON PRIZE FOR BEST POETRY COLLECTION 2019**

Violence hangs over this book like an electric storm. Beginning with a poem about the teenage dawning of sexuality, Vertigo & Ghost pitches quickly into a long sequence of graphic, stunning pieces about Zeus as a serial rapist, for whom woman are prey and sex is weaponised. These are frank, brilliant, devastating poems of vulnerability and rage, and as Zeus is confronted with aggressions both personal and historical, his house comes crumbling down. A disturbing contemporary world is exposed, in which violent acts against women continue to be perpetrated on a daily – hourly – basis.

The book shifts, in its second half, to an intimate and lyrical document of depression and family life. It sounds out the complex and ambivalent terrain of early motherhood – its anxieties and claustrophobias as well as its gifts of tenderness and love – reclaiming the sanctuary of domestic private life, and the right to raise children in peace and safety.

Vertigo & Ghost is an important, necessary book, hugely impressive in its range and risk, and dramatic in its currency: a collection that speaks out with clarity, grace and bravery against the abuse of power.

**SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE**
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 T. S. ELIOT PRIZE**

‘Misogynistic violence, ancient myth and modern rage confront each other in moving and dynamic verse’ Financial Times

Reviews

  • Vertigo & Ghost explodes into furious life with a series of poems and fragments about the Greek god Zeus… jagged, staccato poems that shoot down the pages like lightning boltsan addictive, thrilling, sickening experience.
    John Self, Guardian

About the author

Fiona Benson

Fiona Benson lives in Devon with her husband and their two daughters. She has published two previous collections which were both shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize: Bright Travellers, which won the 2015 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry's Prize for First Full Collection, and Vertigo & Ghost, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize and won both the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection.
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