For this special poetry performance with live soundscapes, Fiona Benson reads new poems commissioned for Herstory. From a powerful, raw account of a pregnant woman forced to give up her baby for adoption in the 1960s, to a sequence that explores the history of gynaecological tools, each is inspired by women’s experiences of fertility, birth control and healthcare. Her work also looks at taboos around female bodies.

One of the Herstory commissioned poets, Fiona undertook research into the Exeter Clinic and conducted individual interviews with local women to develop the work.

Trigger warning: Poem contains an account of rape and forced adoption, which some audiences may find upsetting. The following organisations offer support in these areas: Families for ChildrenRape Crisis

Fiona Benson

Fiona Benson lives in Devon with her husband and their two daughters. She has published two previous collections which were both shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize: Bright Travellers, which won the 2015 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry's Prize for First Full Collection, and Vertigo & Ghost, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize and won both the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection.