Written during a residency with The Polar Museum in Cambridge, Robbergirls reimagines The Snow Queen as a Sapphic rite of passage. Offered in seven sections that echo the fairy tale’s form, these hot, tender and generous poems search for a lost other who is by turns friend, brother, son, lover, but ultimately an aspect of a fragmented self.
In her formally playful and linguistically rich third collection, Benyon suggests that the ache for contact can be tempered by nature, even with disordered seasons. In striking poems that refuse to deny environmental breakdown, the poet holds space for the indigenous people of the Arctic as she considers the devastating impacts of climate change on their landscapes and lives.
‘With linguistically rich and formally inventive poems, Kaddy Benyon’s Robbergirls reveals how story lives inside us: how it expands the borders of the self even as it’s made supple by our (re)imagining. Always attentive to an embodied engagement with the natural world, Benyon renders forests and fells, as well as the “white silence" and “winterlight” of northern landscapes with lush and potent imagery.’ —Sheri Benning
‘This is a magnificent body of work which sweeps with all the assured grace of a skater skating backwards and pulling the reader by their hands forwards through longing, seduction, mothering, mourning – words that blaze with intelligence, wisdom and hope.’ —Nancy Campbell
‘A windswept spell of a collection, full of lyrical magic.’ —Jen Campbell
‘Robbergirls takes us to the woods, to the snow lands, into the corners of the self – where the oldest of stories live. These poems both weep and they sing in their quest for wholeness; in their honest longing to be kissed warm. Kaddy Benyon’s language is sensual, earthy, brim-full with magic in poems that embody vulnerability and surging potential.’ —Helen Ivory
‘Here are poems which combine dark Lawrentian fire with sparkling contemporary diction to great effect: poignant, far-reaching, reflective, elemental. A remarkable debut.’ —Penelope Shuttle
‘Benyon can produce truly startling metaphors (like “the ticking crucifixion” of Mother as a Windmill) and her talent for earthy language lends itself well to the erotic in pieces such as Poem #87, Call it Love and (Not) Penelope’s Web. She is a new poet worth watching.’ —Andrew Neilson, Magma
‘In The Tidal Wife Kaddy Benyon dramatizes “that unruly human cycle / of pull and push”. On the one hand there's the lure of island life and its creative potential, on the other the claims of family and home. Between the two, language ebbs and flows with restless energy through poems of formal invention and imaginative risk.’ —Esther Morgan
‘Kaddy Benyon’s The Tidal Wife will inhabit you for days, weeks, years. These poems interrogate, with eye-watering honesty, the many fractured pieces of a ‘self’ – the roles we play and chafe under, the repressions, explosions, breakdowns, and fierce moments of joy.’ —Fiona Benson