2019 New Poets Prize winner with The Poetry Business and longlisted for the 2019 National Poetry Prize, Ben Ray is an accomplished young poet and reviewer from the Welsh borders with ‘a fresh and original poetic voice – full of wit, twists, surprises, echoes and challenges’ (Alan Rusbridger, former editor of The Guardian). His second collection ‘What I heard on the Last Cassette Player in the World‘ is released with Indigo Dreams Publishing, and he has work published with Seren Books. His third collection ‘The kindness of the eel’ will be published with The Poetry Business in 2020.
Since releasing his first collection ‘After the poet, the bar‘ in 2016 Ben’s work has appeared in a wide array of journals and websites and he has gone on to explore a wide range of poetic disciplines, writing literary essays and reviews and judging in major poetry competitions. From performing at sold-out venues to one-to-one mentoring, from leading poetry groups to giving talks and workshops with young people in schools, Ben is a versatile and consummate poet, performer and mentor. In 2019 presented an academic paper on poetry and climate change at the World Youth Forum: Rights to Dialogue in Italy, and has recently had work commissioned by the EU Commission.
Drawing from both historical and contemporary sources, Ben combines an eclectic array of influences and voices from across Europe discovered through his studies in Poland with his distinct approach to the form, honed in the back rooms of pubs in Oxford. For over five years he has been organising events and giving readings across the country (including a run of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe), as well as spending time under the tutelage of award-winning poet Fiona Sampson.
Ben is also a journalist on EU affairs and publishes interviews, articles and blogs on European issues in a variety of specialist journals. He currently works as a communicator in the EU Commission in Brussels. Find out more about his journalism here.