Woods ignite ancient fears; and inspire myths, and awe within people, even now in the twenty first century.
And of course the woods existed well before man.
At one point in England, a squirrel could cross the country without ever touching ground…
Artist and illustrator, he spent many a cheerful hour of his childhood running through lush fields, climbing tall trees, catching thousands of frogs, and drawing all over his bedroom walls. He has never seen a Leprechaun, but is sure they are responsible for stealing many of his most cherished boyhood toys.
He is most content when creating illustrations that emphasise his passion for narrative story telling through pictures. He has degrees in both Animation and Illustration. His painting The Bee Keeper was shortlisted for the Young Artist of the Year Award 2012.
from Dinmore Woods
Down there in the valley
The Wye runs wide and slow
And that’s where I caught a seven-pound trout
On a morning with mist smoking off the surface
And the blossom drifting down out of the trees.
It was running up from the estuary
With the tidal flow
Making for the pool where it was born
When it latched itself onto my bait
And I can feel it now, the whump and drag
On my arms, the slamming, cast-iron weight
Jolt through my shoulder, nearly pulling me in
And me with my feet jammed against the bankside
Hauling it up out of the water
The writhing, thrashing, banging life of it
Like reeling in the river itself
From source to sea, the whole country
With my hook in its lip
Like a bloody great dragon
Shedding scales and light.
by David Calcutt: His poetry appears widely in print, and he performs his work regularly in venues across the Midlands. He has written many plays and adaptations for theatre and BBC Radio 4. His play Gifts of Flame won the Sacred Earth Drama Award. He has plays published by Nelson Thornes and Oxford University Press. OUP also published two novels.
from Bridging the Unpath
and Yew An ever-living dead thing coated
with moss leans
in. Neither bridge nor tree can know
where river sprang
or river goes
though over and over it tells them its song filled with how
it caught a cow once river bridge yew
bridge me river you
yew that has grown to lean out and over to hang on
by root tips in the telling of myths
to overhear over here Oh the ear
misses what it doesn’t know
those silent years that slip past in a moment they stay safe
in their own language and me
only picking at the gist.
by Nadia Kingsley: Her poems have been published in Orbis, Brand, Wenlock Poetry Festival Anthology 2011 and 2012, and 2014, Poetry Cornwall, and she has won prizes for her short stories, flash fiction and poetry. She performed at “Ones to Watch” event at Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014, curated by Jacob Sam-La Rose. Her brick sculpture, photography and textile art have been exhibited in Birmingham, London and Brighton.
Jan Fortune reviewing in February 2015 issue of envoi magazine
Through the Woods is Fair Acre’s standout publication.
A collaborative collection in large format illustrated pamphlet, the two poetry sequences …are given added depth and resonance by Peter Tinkler’s darly mythic opening sequence of exquisitely produced illustrations. …
David Calcutt’s circular path takes us on a journey not only through landscape, from the familiar to the increasingly strange as we look beneath the surface, but also in time, bringing a sense of place memory to bear in this accomplished five-part sequence….
Pared down, lyrical and elegant, Calcutt’s sequence segues into Nadia Kingsley’s ‘Bridging the Unpath’, with its distinctive timbre and form….
Moving from what’s on the wing, to pond, to night-sky, Kingsley takes us under the skin of place, delivering visceral, precise impressions that constantly shift and allude so that whilst one place is under the microscope we never lose a sense of the wider world… The attention to every detail and to every sound is sustained throughout this accomplished, innovative poem, that picks up the concerns of the first sequence from a wholly different perspective so that the result is not mere echo, but a work that adds to and deepens it.
This is a deeply satisfying, layered work that will bear rereading.
Antony Owen – poet (Heaventree, Pighog):
An impressive and beguiling collaboration of poems
Sarah James – poet (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, Circaidy, Gregory, Nine Arches Press) reviewer, editor, events organiser
through the woods is not so much a poetry pamphlet as a creation of paper and ink beauty. Slightly larger than a typical poetry pamphlet, it gives both the artwork by Peter Tinkler and the poetry from David Calcutt and Nadia Kingsley plenty of room to breathe. It also emphasizes air/space as just one of all the elements vivid in this book.
The pamphlet opens with some stunning artwork from Peter Tinkler – of trees, the moon and mysteriously beautiful night/dark wood creatures.
The sequence from David Calcutt, ‘Dinmore Woods’, is one of nature and forest but also people. It has the feel of a modern mythical journey through a place of many voices. These voices are human, animal, plant and mineral, with the journey of place and people very much intertwined.
‘Bridging the Unpath’ by Nadia Kinglsey is one long poem with a more experimental layout and use of language. Narrative here is much more fragmented, and crackles with the sounds of language, names and nature in a mesmerising/enchanting flow. Amongst the soundscapes, a conjuring of visual snapshots, which is rather like watching a fast-alternating slide show. The quick movement between these making one want to return and read again.
That at, least, is my interpretation of this wonderful book. At the end, there is a short note from all three on the creation process and inspiration behind the art and poems. But this is also very much a book that invites you to feel free to open the pages and create your own journey through it.
Jean Atkin – poet (Oversteps Books, Biscuit Tin Press, Roncadora Press, Ravenglass Poetry Press. Shortlisted for the Callum MacDonald Prize 2011) Children’s writer, writer in education and the community
This pamphlet consists of two long poems, ‘Dinmore Woods’ by David Calcutt, and ‘Bridging the Unpath’ by Nadia Kingsley.
Calcutt’s work explores the history and people of Dinmore Woods in Herefordshire:
Names flower in the mouth
That bits on its root
The slow forgetting
The fallen fruit.
I really enjoyed the pace of this work, its attention to detail, to loss and to what survives. Calcutt captures a sense of passing time and eroding traditions without sentimentality. Running through the poem is the River Wye. I loved this glorious description of catching a trout, which is about catching so much more:
the writhing, thrashing, banging life of it
Like reeling in the river itself
From source to sea, the whole country
With my hook in its lip…
‘Bridging the Unpath’ by Nadia Kingsley, is a more experimental piece of writing starting in close, microscopic focus of moths, but rapidly expanding:
white/ pond white/ river wet/ roads Moon/ so round it hogs/ the limelight
I found Kingsley’s work invigorating in its energy and imagery, an incantation to woods, to river, to human experience and wonder.
I know you’re there charges the ether
stillness a gasp
a sudden fast
It’s also important to say that Through the Woods is illustrated by Peter Tinkler. There is an arresting, mysterious, wordless cover, and finely reproduced drawings inside, a wonderfully sensitive response to the poetry.
Claire Walker – poet – on their performance at Mouth and Music, Kidderminster April 2014:
I found the poetry delicate and stunning. David and Nadia’s voices complimented each other beautifully.
Heather Wastie , poet,songwriter, oral historian, actor – on their performance at Mouth and Music, Kidderminster April 2014:
Featured spoken word artists, David Calcutt and Nadia Kingsley showed how page poetry should be performed. Quality work delivered with clarity and humour.
Orbis #167 says, amongst other things, that:
Tinkler’s images express the the fading dismay of the spirit of the woodlands…
Kingsley’s passion can carry the reader with startling energy and a surprise that refreshes our experience of the natural world.
Calcutt….enables him to deliver beautiful lines and strong imagery, such as describing the fury of a caught fish ‘like reeling in the river itself’
and, overall, “the book is an honest and heartfelt attempt to create nature art which is more than simply re-treading old ground.”