Peter Bennet was born in Staffordshire in 1942. He went as a scholarship boy to King’s School Macclesfield, and then to Manchester College of Art and Design, where he was influenced by Norman Adams and his wife, the poet Anna Adams. He taught in secondary and further education, including work with redundant steelworkers following the closure of Consett Steel Works, and spent sixteen years as Tutor Organiser for Northumberland with the Workers’ Educational Association. He gave up painting for writing in 1980 and did a part-time MA at Newcastle University, including a study of W.S.Graham.
His first Bloodaxe retrospective, Border (2013), covered work from books including Goblin Lawn (2005), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, The Glass Swarm (2008), a Poetry Book Society Choice which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, and The Game of Bear (2011), all published by Flambard Press, and was followed by Mischief in 2018. His new retrospective, Nayler & Folly Wood (2023), is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. It includes his major sequences, The Long Pack, Jigger Nods, Folly Wood and Bobby Bendick’s Ride, Landscape with Psyche and Ladderedge and Cotislea, along with a new sequence, Nayler, as well as new poems and earlier work not included in Border. He has received major awards from New Writing North and Arts Council England and been a prizewinner in the National and the Arvon International Poetry Competitions, and in the Basil Bunting Awards.
He lived for thirty-three years near the Wild Hills o’Wanney in Northumberland, in a cottage associated with the ballad writer James Armstrong, author of Wannie Blossoms. He now lives in North Shields.