I am a poet based in London. I graduated from Durham University in 2017 with a BA in Classics.
I write about misogyny, queerness, chronic illness, Classical mythology and bats, as well as PTSD, sexual trauma and post-trauma therapies.
My debut pamphlet, He Said I Was a Peach, was published in 2021 with ignitionpress, part of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre. Buy a copy here.
I was the 2020 winner of the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, judged by Fiona Benson. Read my winning poem, 'Appetit', here.
I am in the current cohort of The London Library's Emerging Writers Programme, and am an alum of the Barbican Young Poets and the Writing Squad.
My poems have been published online in bath magg, and in print with Modern Poetry in Translation (subsequently published online here), Magma, Popshot and Finished Creatures, among others.
I write text and libretto for contemporary classical music and contemporary opera. Substantial collaborations with composers include Athanasia Kontou and Rebecca Nisco.
I am the writer/director of The Styx, a new film opera project in development, supported by Arts Council England.
debut pamphlet: He Said I Was a Peach
Published in 2021 by ignitionpress
These are breathtaking poems of a strange, deep glamour; their imagery is uncompromising, and their music utterly original. Byford composes on a scale that is entirely her own. She has a preternatural ability to capture other worlds, other Umwelten – Thetis hearing her son’s voice as 'a warm strain / softening the frozen kelp / like piss', or the shuttling dislocations of Arachne – 'weft thin / softning'. These poems return to sites of trauma or eroticism or myth in a way that renders them immediate, dangerous, and unstable; but there is a beautiful act of salvage here. The world is sifted for its stains, blisters and residues, its sensual drives, and the sticky fingers of human longing. Byford is a reckoning, an uncanny and ferocious rising star.
— Fiona Benson
music & libretto
I am the writer and director of The Styx, an experimental hybrid project between opera, poetry and film, drawing on the ancient myth of Persephone and from modern trauma therapy practices.
We were awarded a project grant from Arts Council England in 2021 to develop the script and score, and plan to integrate the score with a new accompanying film.
In 2018, composer Athanasia Kontou and I met at a series of workshops run by The Writing Squad which paired composers with poets to create new song works. This songwriting collaboration came to fruition in our piece 'Odysseus/Penelope'.
links to other work: