Tag Archives: Smokestack books

A Sense of Place -Oriel Davies Writing Competition



‘A Sense of Place’ Writing Competition 2014, Oriel Davies, Newtown, Powys, Wales.

The Oriel Davies writing competition returns between 17 May – 25 October 2014 with the theme A Sense of Place, convened and judged by Chris Kinsey.

Writers are invited to submit pieces throughout the competition period that focus on ‘A Sense of Place’. Entries should be poems of up to 50 lines each; or prose pieces of up to 1000 words each. The winning entry will be featured on the gallery website and social media, and be read to an audience at an event in late autumn. Shortlisted writers will also be invited to participate in the readings.



Amanda Farr, director of Oriel Davies writes:

A Sense of Place’ is our theme for this year’s writing competition. We are really excited to be presenting this competition in particular from our rural context in Mid Wales, known widely for its distinctive sense of place, landscape, language and culture. We are also pleased to welcome Chris Kinsey, a fantastic locally-based poet and our writer in residence 2011 – 2013 as the competition convenor and judge. We look forward to reading the entries…


This year’s writing competition will be judged by Chris Kinsey who was Oriel Davies’ Writer-in-Residence 2011-13. She is the author of 3 poetry collections: Kung Fu Lullabies and Cure for a Crooked Smile published by Ragged Raven Press and Swarf by Smokestack Books. Chris was BBC Wildlife Poet of the year in 2008. She also writes a regular Nature Diary for Cambria and won Natur Cymru’s last prose competition, ‘Inspired by Nature’.

For full competition entry guidelines download the competition flyer: http://www.orieldavies.org/sites/default/files/Sense%20of%20Place%20flyer_Layout%201.pdf


In the republic of poetry (3). Borders and trespass

After my previous post, querying labels and form, poetry and playwriting, I received a wonderful email from writer Martin Pursey:
“Perhaps as a winner of a poetry prize you should not think of yourself as a trespasser at all; I would offer you as comfort the image of a colonial map of territories. A demarcation-line drawn through desert, plain and forest is cheerfully ignored by the tribespeople who live across and all round it; so there you are, taking your goods to market, and you don’t even know you’ve crossed a border, it simply doesn’t matter for your purpose, and you are just as authentic a maker on either side or both!”
As to my comments on the comfort of poetry, in troubling or bereaved times, Martin continues, in parenthesis:
“(Long ago, when I played soldiers a little, I was greeted by the colour-sergeant, after a slow and disbelieving look up-&-down, with “So you are the Queen’s latest bad bargain, come to burden this Regiment and trouble my declining years?” — poetic, I thought at the time. He later astonished us, at a slightly dangerous time, by interspersing his commands and activities with ammunition and so on, with a wistful and heartfelt recital from ‘Fern Hill’:  “As I was young and easy Under the apple boughs about the lilting house And happy as the grass was green…”  -and he was a Regular!)”
As I was delighting in this interaction with Martin Pursey, I got an email from Chris Kinsey  in response to my musings  about characters and narratives, poetry and playwriting. She has allowed me to reproduce several poems from her new collection, Swarf .
“What about this one about words and inspiration?” She asks:


Rain animates the world beyond the glass.

Bare twigs sprout a crop of the fattest drops

water can hold, silvery as spoons

lining up on the draining-board.

Bullfinches ripen the empty apple trees.

Boundary yews shrug in seclusion,

shrubs huddle all borders. My thoughts too,

are screened, trained to a tenant’s need.

At home my gazing’s different.

The garden’s a runway to buzzard spirals,

vapour-trail ciphers. At doves’ ovations

I wait for word-specks to form.


Or this one which is a poem monologue rather than a dramatic one she writes:


It came on suddenly

this blindness thing

like walking into the barn

on a Summer day –

split shafts, shadows,


Thought he was mucking about

Hide ‘n’ seeking me.

Thought it was my eyes playing tricks

when I found him,

but it wasn’t a feedbag

rocking from the rafters.

His father went to the War

brought back a darkness.

Billy caught it.

Now the dark’s in me.

Bits of me come back sometimes –

I’m going to look for Billy.


All poems (c) Chris Kinsey, from Swarf, published by Smokestack books.