Gerard Benson published ten collections of poems and appeared in over a hundred anthologies and many magazines. As a member of The Barrow Poets he gave literally thousands of readings, both live and in the media. He was the first (20th Century) poet-in-residence at The Wordsworth Trust, and a brilliant tutor on countless residential courses.
Gerard held a number of British Council appointments and was recorded in early 2014 for the Poetry Archive. His work recieved several prizes, including the Signal Poetry Award, and he was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. For many years he was Bradford's first (and only) Poet Laureate. Gerard died in April 2014, just after his 83rd birthday.
'A refreshingly original collection. The poems enchant, astonish, linger in the memory. The collection should be in the classrooms and libraries of primary and secondary schools. The accomplished black and white illustrations are witty and eyecatching.' — School Library Association
'His lines pulsate with the rhythms of real voices.' — Gowri Ramnarayan
'Funny and sad, witty and sinister, all of it good.' — Books for Keeps
'A rare and wonderful selection. Gerard Benson can make you giggle helplessly one moment, catch your breath the next and then cry the next.' — Carousel
Gerard reading at The Poetry Library
Gerard reading 'A Good Time'
Then sometimes you’ll think of boat-houses,
shacks built over a cut in the river bank,
and of sculls and skiffs – and you’ll think
of paddles and fenders and boathooks—
of short shorts and long legs, and the vee,
the wake spreading back over the water;
and about Doctor Moore who shopped for ten years
by rowing a tough mile upstream with all his bags.
But more than these, you’ll think just
of the boathouses and their rugged
impermanence, and the men who built them,
and the peculiar idea of building a wooden
shack over the water, to house a shell
in the slop-slopping darkness and padlock the gate.