Ben Wilkinson was born in Stafford. He read English and Philosophy at the University of Sheffield and received AHRC funding to study on the MA Writing at Sheffield Hallam.
His poems and reviews have appeared in publications including Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Manhattan Review and the TLS.
the pamphlet the sparks is now OUT OF PRINT
The Sparks is poetry responsive to the elemental layers that underscore
the material sheen of our early twenty-first century. It is the work of a poet steeped in the masters, but not cowed by them. Its lines are stylish, fluent, its images incandescent. There is both achievement and promise here: achievement borne of a craft thoroughly learned; the promise that what
Ben Wilkinson produces as he begins the difficult business of unlearning
is worth the wait.
As a pamphlet the length of this collection is just right. Poetry works in short bursts especially here where Wilkinson threads his theme of light and darkness, of weather and the sparks that catch us off guard; epitomised through lighters and sparking cigarettes and childhood awe at the world with dancing rain and laughing moons. But along these metaphorical guides in the dark, a tender softer side bursts through with gorgeous well-strung imagery... The Sparks is full of profound moments told in effortless clarity...Each poem is rich with unusual turns of phrase and glimmering original images bringing the elemental forces down onto the pub, the bedroom and the many walks in-between
John Challis, Hand + Star magazine
Out from the quay, and the trawler heading away to foreign waters
wobbles as if an apple bobbing in the kitchen basin of All Hallows’ Eve.
Its dragnet of dregs, settling on the sea’s black-misted base
of low-lying cod, haddock, the monstrous sub of the deep Atlantic salmon,
almost looks to be catching the water’s beady-eyed contents
as if to expel its forty-one million square miles of swallowing depression.
Returning, with so much fresh fish for tomorrow’s hungry morning,
and the bulk of boat slow-shifts from foot to foot, tethered down to its
And yet, through some fathomless way of sunless ferment, next day
sees the sea ten strong or more, as if the trawler had never flounced
its many tons, shook its shivering skin above, the freezing depths
rippling beneath. The way the ocean filters up its once salt-ridden waters
to the streams and brooks inland, or how the Egyptian cobra shed its skin,
intact, carefully rubbing its head, leaving behind a perfect replica of itself.