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Ben Norris

Ben Norris is a poet, playwright and actor. He is two-time national poetry champion – 2017 BBC Poetry Slam and 2013 UK All-Stars Poetry Slam – and has appeared everywhere from Latitude Festival to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. His debut solo show. ‘The Htichhikers’ Guide to the Family’ won the IdeasTap Underbelly Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before touring the UK and Australia, and his first short film, commissioned by Channel 4, was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award. He is currently developing a new show about elite sport, ‘The Distance’.

Ben is from Nottingham and is currently poet-in-residence for Nottinghamshire Libraries, and a Creative Associate at Nottingham Playhouse. He also plays Ben Archer in ‘The Archers’ on BBC Radio Four.


Catalysed by the end of a complex polyamorous relationship played out on opposite sides of the world, some ending sees Norris revisit his parents’ earlier separation and uncover a grief he’d forbidden himself at the time.

These poems look unflinchingly at heartbreak and find it everywhere – in protracted attempts to untangle two lives and the people caught in the cross-fire, in the messy deaths of loved ones, and in the tragedy of men unable to express themselves; this is a pamphlet about endings of all kinds, how they intersect, and how we reconfigure ourselves in the wake of them. But there is love, hope, and forgiveness here too. All endings have the seeds of new beginnings in them, and as Norris’s poems unfurl, this becomes as much a eulogy to new-found friendship and self-love as it is an eloquent dissection of loss.

some ending is Ben Norris’ second pamphlet.


‘These poems are raw, fresh, and fluent, without a cliché or slack moment in sight. Norris conveys not only a sense of himself, but himself as someone on whom nothing is lost. Interesting, smart, sensitive, witty. He’s the real deal.’                        – COLM TÓIBÍN

‘These are moving, witty, and beautifully-crafted poems which are never complacent, never letting us stay on the surface.’ – ANDREW MCMILLAN


a plenary question for victorian medical practitioners and their ancient
predecessors concerning the role of the organs and humours in the governance  of feeling

tell me     who decided that the heart is where love lives?
I have sent fifty beating red emojis this week
to friends in distress and people I want
to say thank you to      people I am missing
people I missed     a new friend is listening to silences
differently      an old friend is helping her     I feel a displacement
tell me      where is the small intestines emoji     I can’t very well
send you the little poo and expect you to know what I mean
where is the insomnia emoji     the glowing yellow
person staring into a fridge not hungry just empty
you have given us this new language but
no language to talk about it     tell me
what is the emoji for safety      what is the emoji for
thank you: I didn’t know how to say any of this before