Charles Bennett is a highly-regarded, prize-winning poet whose work has been published to wide acclaim in Europe and America. Bennett was born in the North West of England and was a mature student in the 1980s at London University and the University of Massachusetts, where he was mentored by Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky. Following the completion of a doctorate on the structure of meaning in Seamus Heaney’s sequences, he taught English and Drama for several years before becoming the Director of Ledbury Poetry Festival. Bennett is the author of poetry collections Wintergreen (2002), How to Make a Woman Out of Water (2008) and Evenlode (2013). He teaches and supervises at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University of Northampton.
Soundings is a non-fiction title about listening to landscape, set in the Glaven Valley of North Norfolk, and represents a unique contribution to New Nature Writing. It is currently at final revision stage prior to publication in autumn 2014 with Liz Calder at Full Circle Editions, Suffolk.
Wicken Fen Writer-in-Residence
As from April 2014, Bennett will be appointed as Writer-in-Residence at Wicken Fen (The National Trust’s oldest nature reserve and England’s most famous fen). Through a series of monthly visits and community workshops, Bennett will be exploring our links with wetlands as a way of celebrating this landscape. The resulting poems are to be published on the National Trust website and are scheduled for chapbook publication in 2015 with illustrations by Carry Ackroyd and supported by a virtual poetry trail. In conjunction with this project Bennett has recently submitted an Arts Council ‘Grants for the Arts’ bid which is currently under review.
Collaborations with Bob Chilcott
Bennett is currently engaged in two major projects. Firstly a long piece for the John Lewis Partnership to celebrate 150 years of the partnership. Bennett and Chilcott have also just been commissioned by Age Concern to write a Mass. In addition, they are still hopeful that they will be commissioned to write an opera for children.
Collaboration with Francis Pott
Bennett has recently been approached by the composer Francis Pott and has been commissioned to write a piece for the Kings Singers and Hannover Girls’ Choir.
Charles Bennett teaches at all undergraduate levels and offers postgraduate modules for the English MA. Essentially a poetry specialist, the main clusters of his Creative Writing & English teaching experience is – Creative Writing: Poetry; Creative Non-Fiction; Fiction; Reading for Writers. English: Romanticism (BA); Modern & Contemporary Poetry (MA).
Charles Bennett’s research centres on phenomenological explorations of landscape and place. In the face of advancing environmental change, concepts of landscape need refreshing in order to achieve validity. As such, his writing posits ways to re-image and re-evaluate our perspectives. Bennett works in three genres: poetry, creative non-fiction and a series of commissioned lyrics and librettos in collaboration with leading choral composer Bob Chilcott.
Bennett has successfully supervised doctoral theses on Robert Graves and a Creative Writing PhD in fiction. He is about to begin supervision of a thesis on the plays of WB Yeats. Bennett offers a wide remit in Contemporary Poetry, particularly poetry of place and the development of the lyric form in contemporary poetics. He can offer contemporary American, Irish, Scottish and Welsh poetry, as well as Edward Thomas and John Clare.