£500 a Line and Other Poems


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By Liz Bentley

ISBN: 978-1-84991-118-4
Published: 2010
Pages: 93
Key Themes: poetry, humour, relationships



£500 a line is a poetry book. The title of the book is a tongue-in-cheek response to the pressure of wining a £5000 writing commission from Shape (disability arts) as part of the Cultural Olympiad. The original ten-line poem ‘Comfortably’ was the starting point of the work. Liz performed the final piece at the Southbank in July 2009 as part of the London Literature Festival. The poems are about her experiences from winning the commission to its performance one year later. Themes of the work include her job as a therapist, being in therapy, relationships, separation, bereavement and having multiple sclerosis.

Other poems are work that she has been performing on the UK poetry/comedy/literature circuit for the last 6 years since her last book “Tales in the Deep End” published by Eatlatinanddie books in 2004.

“Refreshingly off the wall” “Liz is such an effortless writer” “very very funny” “priceless” “more constructive criticism of CBT please” Southbank audience

“Like a female Ivor Cutler” “A peculiar cross between Tracey Emin and Josie Long” “She’s a good swimmer” The Scotsman

About the Author

Liz Bentley is a writer, poet, comedienne, host, programmer, musician, mother, therapist and insomniac. She was born in Essex in 1964 and moved to London at 21. She lives in Peckham with her two children.

Liz sought psychotherapy at 23. Struggling with bulimia, drugs, relationships, abuse and the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, her therapy allowed her to be creative and provided a way of making sense of her difficulties.

During her analysis she trained as a counsellor. She now works as a therapist in primary care in Southwark, has a private practice and is one of the quirkiest voices on the UK’s spoken word scene.

Since winning Short Fuse Poetry Idol, then Poetry Idol the Rivals in 2003, Liz’s writing and performance has gone from strength to strength. Armed with her Casio keyboard and ukulele she has been featured at events such as Ledbury Poetry Festival, London Literature Festival at Southbank and Alternative Village Fete, National Theatre. She has had three successful Edinburgh shows (2008 being in Edinburgh’s only swimming pool venue, a solo show then hosting over 100 other writers/performers in the pool)

Liz’s experiences of mental health and multiple sclerosis have taken her into disability arts, performing at events such as Bonkersfest, Mad Pride, Mad Chicks, Liberty festival (Liberty laureate 2009), Da Da festival and therapy conferences. She strives to smash the apartheid between disability and mainstream arts.

Book Extract

A Smaller Place

I’ve been studying aeroplanes and how airhostesses deliver refreshments via trolleys
On my next flight I will time their comings and goings and at a point at which all toilets are blocked from all seated passengers we shall be in the toilet queue to become members of the mile high club.

The toilets are small but so am I and have managed in the very small ones on trains.

Is trolly dolly an abusive term for an airhostess?

As a child I wanted to become a trolly dolly but I was deemed too short. I probably like to call trolly dollys trolly dollys because I envied them. They had something that I could never have at their age.

For all I know, a certain height may not be criteria for this position now, but I’m 45 and the job doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

I was also too short to become an ambulance person. They told me that it would be a problem carrying stretchers. “We don’t want patients sliding off” they said.

I asked them why they couldn’t employ two people of small height then this wouldn’t be an issue. They said “but what would happen if one went off sick? Sickness is a huge problem in the NHS.”


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