Review: Stella Davis poetry collection launch at Southampton’s October Books

Review: Stella Davis poetry collection launch at Southampton’s October Books

by Anita Foxall.

Poet Stella Davis returned to Southampton for the launch of her new poetry collection Lunch on a Green Ledge on the 28th of January at October Books. 

Born and raised in the South of England, and an alumni of the University of Southampton, Stella Davis has had a very prolific career in poetry. She has published poems in many magazines, and has collaborated with many other artists from the most varied areas.

Her connection to Southampton became even stronger when she became the Poet in Residence at the Port of Southampton in 1999-2000, sponsored by Associated British Ports and the Stevedores’ Co-operative Southampton Container Terminals. This residency resulted in the poetry collection Watershot. In 2003,  she became the Poet in Residence at the Winchester Cathedral, which resulted in another publication St Swithun’s Day.

Lunch on a Green Ledge was published at the end of 2022. At the October Books event, she read some poems of this beautiful collection to a very full room and delighted everybody with some witty stories that instigated some of the poems.

‘You have ideas you can’t do anything else with, you put it in a poem,’ she stated about writing.

She aimed to write a 20th century pastoral, which she found to be a struggle, but the themes range from village life, to travelling, to fairy tale characters, to writing.

On Coker Ridge, which she read at the event, states that if you always carry a notebook, you will write more.

Down West  was written when she moved to Somerset and while walking she encountered a group of local people, and when asking one of the men what the gathering was about, he replied ‘just a bit of fun amongst ourselves’.

Lost   is a poem her editor thought was about Brexit, but is in fact about the Industrial Revolution. But I would challenge you to read it and deliberate for yourself, I personally do quite agree that it fits the Brexit theme quite well too.

At the end there were some questions and answers, where she was asked what she missed the most about Southampton, and here it is: the cycle paths along the Itchen, the estuaries, the water (specifically Southampton’s tap water), and the Turner Sims.

So if you missed the event, and the wonderful opportunity to listen to Stella Davis read some of the poems of Lunch on a Green Ledge, head to October Books and buy yourself a copy.


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