benjamin cusden

everything is poetry

poet, speaker and workshop facilitator

Benjamin Cusden is a published poet and London Library Emerging Writer 2021.

His poetry has appeared in various UK publications including Acumen, Under The Radar, Prole, The Dawntreader, as well as publications in Europe, the USA, Canada and Brazil.

Benjamin has been shortlisted for: The Bridport Prize and Live Canon's International Poetry Prize. In 2020 he was chosen for The London Library's prestigious Emerging Writers Programme.

His first poetry selection Cut the Black Rabbit, published by Against The Grain Poetry Press, 2020, vividly explores the tragic end of Benjamin's successful television career, the subsequent years spent as a homeless man and his eventual return to 'normal life'. It has been included in The Poetry Book Society's Winter Selection 2020.

Benjamin is actively involved in poetry workshops, festivals and events, organising open mic nights and reading at poetry events. He now lives in East Sussex, where he is currently working on his next collection and facilitating a series of writing workshops and courses inspired by Zen thinking.

If you would like Benjamin to speak at an upcoming event, find out more about his work or take part in one of his Writing with Zen workshops, please feel free to get in touch at or via his social media pages (see links below)

reviews of cut the black rabbit

writing workshops with benjamin cusden

Writing with Zen: One Day Workshop

Writing with Zen is a series of exploratory writing workshops touching on the principles and philosophies of Zen. “To study the Way is to study the self; to study the self is to forget the self; to forget the self is to be enlightened by the myriad things.” (Eihei Dogen, 1200 – 1253) Join poet benjamin cusden on the path to writing with Zen. In this workshop we’ll start our journey by looking at the concept of ‘I’ and transforming this focus to others in an attempt to find the interconnectedness of all things through writing and sharing. Without judgement or preconceptions we’ll touch upon the concept of ‘I / me’ and the interbeing of all living things from a Zen perspective as a tool for creative writing. Whatever your genre or wherever you are on your writing journey this is a wonderful opportunity to silence your inner critic and write freely in the ‘now’. benjamin is a member of Wildflower Zen Sangha in Paris and their sister sangha Wholehearted Zen Sangha in Richmond-upon-Thames.

  • Date: 22/10/2022 12:30 PM - 22/10/2022 05:00 PM
  • Location: The Wellington Health and Wellbeing Centre, 44 Wellington Square, Hastings TN34 1PN, UK (Map)

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Ticket Type
Writing with Zen: One Day Workshop



Past Events

Writing with Zen: One Day Workshop 24 Sep 202249A Grove Road, Eastbourne BN21 4TX, UK
Writing with Zen: Introductory Workshop 07 Sep 202249A Grove Road, Eastbourne BN21 4TX, UK

a glimpse of my work

Note to the New Homeless

The ground is hard – always hard, always cold –
it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s un-giving.
Spread out an army of blankets, clutch of sweaters,
a murder of trench coats – it’ll still be hard and cold.

The Sun, The Moon. the circle of stars,
time is the freedom of doorways.

Bend poor person’s elbows and arms and stretch
to support the neck, this provides the position
to protect your head, keep eyes open  
or hair triggered shut – ready to jump.

The Sun, The Moon. the circle of stars,
time is the freedom of doorways.

Peer out through your covers – hoody and woollens,
remnants, your handouts, the trash you’ve collected,
newspapers, cardboard, polystyrene padding –
        be prepared.

A murder of doorways, The Sun, The Moon,
freedom is hard and cold.

Every day has ritual: make tea on the Gaz;
wash in the public toilets; steal loo roll;

each night, large pennaceous feathers spring like
seedlings along arms, sprout from boned coccyx;

unpack and pack – clean clothes on top with
dirty underneath, rearrange bits of yesterday
to be ready for tomorrow;

mouth, jaw and nose fuse and elongate, legs grow
thin and compress, feet become claws;

make sure the bag is balanced; tie bootlaces
tight – bunny ears in double knot;

with ease, tendon and muscle stretch and take flight
as cryptochromes behind eyes read the magnetic
routes of the Earth;

fingers count, recount coins in pocket,
head holds a mantra: 10, 20, 30 – desperate
to reach a hundred, 70, 80, 90 – 70, 80,90,
enough for a can of White Lightening;

some nights flying at the wedge-head of geese;
others lost in skeins of starlings; and often alone –
an owl kills its prey. Each route is open, without
boundaries until the shackles of morning’s
              f o rm
ation into a mule again;
home, strapped to back with the past;
present held in vacant hands; future
shod with well-worn Doctor Marten boots.

  • Bexhill, Bexhill-on-Sea, England, United Kingdom