Kaddy's in the running for Crashaw Prize

Published: 3 April 2012 at 10:53

Anglia Ruskin graduate describes how poetry career took off during turbulent flight

Cambridge poet Kaddy Benyon has been shortlisted for the prestigious Crashaw Prize.  Kaddy, who graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in October with an MA in Creative Writing, is among a 10-strong shortlist, alongside poets from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Prior to studying at Anglia Ruskin, Kaddy was a successful television scriptwriter, having penned 70 episodes of Hollyoaks for Channel 4.  The Hills Road resident has been shortlisted for Milk Fever, and is currently working on her second collection of poetry.

Describing her inspiration for Milk Fever, Kaddy said:

“The first inklings of Milk Fever came on a flight from Texas to London after a wedding in 2009.  I was travelling with my four-year old daughter. 
“The plane hit turbulence as we clipped the corner of Kansas and without taking her eyes from the film, my daughter clung to me with a sticky, lolly-poppy hand and was instantly soothed.   I had such a strong urge to do the same to a polished lady sitting on my other side. 
“To distract myself, I tried to think of all the older women who have shaped me.  When I counted 13 on my fingers – no, I don’t have extra digits! – I decided to write a sequence of 13 poems under the awful title, Meet My Other Mothers.  By the time we landed, the first draft of a tiny, tentative poem had formed.  The collection grew and evolved from there.
Milk Fever took two years to write – though of course there were days when I got lost, lost faith, gave up, stamped my feet, ripped pages up and shook a fist at my muse.  But there were also the times when editors of literary magazines accepted some of the Milk Fever poems, or they were placed in competitions or an audience responded with applause when I read.
“I am currently writing my second collection, Touchstone, which explores my relationship to a single pebble; the person who gave it to me; what it means to feel touched, beyond the physical; our attempts to control our impermanence; and how human beings use objects as surrogates for experience.”

The Crashaw Prize, run by Salt Publishing, is an annual prize for first collections of poetry and this year attracted over 80 entries.  The winner will have their collection published by Salt later in the year.