2019 New Poets Prize winner and current Poet-in-Non-Residence for the 2020 Cheltenham Poetry Festival, 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 third collection The Kindness of the Eel was be published with The Poetry Business this June, and he has two previous collections published with Indigo Dreams Publishing, most recently What I heard on the Last Cassette Player in the World.
Ben’s poetry, reviews and articles have appeared in a wide array of journals, newspapers and websites. From performing at sold-out venues to one-to-one mentoring and from leading poetry groups to giving talks and workshops with young people in schools, Ben is a versatile and consummate poet, performer, workshop leader and mentor.
He is constantly active in the poetry community, whether it’s running virtual online workshops during the Coronavirus crisis, judging the 2020 Cheltenham Poetry Festival single poem competition, or presenting an academic paper on poetry and climate change at the 2019 World Youth Forum: Rights to Dialogue in Italy. He has also had work commissioned by the EU Commission and performed within the EU institutions, and his workshops and poetry have also been included in the Living Levels Landscape Partnership with the RSPB, connecting people to the historic landscape of the Gwent Levels in south Wales.
Ben also writes analysis and comment on EU affairs for various journals and has appeared on several EU affairs podcasts discussing poetry and European affairs, bringing together his loves of poetry, culture and Europe. He currently works as a communicator for the European Commission and is based in Brussels.