Memoirs of a Jobbing Poet


Gerard Benson’s vivid, entertaining and occasionally flamboyant memoir is a testament to a generous talent dedicated to poetry and to life. Besides writing numerous books, Gerard made his mark in particular in theatre (as an actor and at The Central School) and in performances with The Barrow Poets and at the Royal Festival Hall. He was also one of the prime movers of the iconic public arts scheme, Poems on The Underground.

Disclaimed at birth and later given the heave-ho by his family, Gerard Benson constructed a life that was vigorously independent. Much of the earlier half was harrowing or sad, with an up-against-it gaiety. The latter part, with his wife Cathy, approached lyrical happiness. Linking all was the absurd profession of jobbing bard and journeyman maker to which, seemingly, some of us are born. It is beautifully tabulated here, as is his rollicking acting career. He was a delightful man, and the next-best thing to knowing him would be to read these lively, humorous and eloquent memoirs.
– Kit Wright 

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