Thursday, 28 February 2019
Featured Poet: Charles Bennett
Before establishing himself as an academic, Charles Bennett was the Creative Director of Ledbury Poetry Festival, and has acted as writer-in-residence for Wicken Fen. Additionally, his work with choral composer Bob Chilcott has seen him hailed as a memorable and mesmerising librettist. He lives on the edge of Northamptonshire & Leicestershire with his wife, daughter and dog. His website is http://www.charlesbennett.net/
Charles's new collection, Cloud River, is a book of lyrical landscape poetry set in the Cambridgeshire Fens; a landscape which, at first impression, seems flat, dull and featureless. The startling originality of the book stems from its delighted mission to revise and overturn these impressions. Through an examination of lines (on fields, maps, the sky and the page) it slowly but powerfully reveals the intrinsic interest, peculiarity and dynamism of the Fens. In so doing, it calls for aesthetic concepts of beauty to be re-examined; and, in its flowing music, exemplifies how a confrontation with level lands, straight rivers and big skies can result in a balancing of spirit and a fresh appreciation of England’s lowest and newest landscape. Featured below is a poem from the collection.
Slung through a thrown ascent
and tuned to the sweet track of its destination,
the polished arrow of a plough
smoothes the air apart to let it breathe.
Drawn like the fine nib of a deft pen,
the cleft of its blade is a cut that does no harm.
In the wake of its stroke, the sky unzips her skin.
The seeds of clouds are planted in a white scar.
As if I were being sown with fine weather,
I read its opening line on the blue field.