“Chris Kinsey’s writing is part of her own rootedness in mid Wales, specifically the ‘three counties, two countries’ she views in ‘High Summer on a Shropshire Hill’. This poet delights in what she discovers around her, but is also attuned to her own past. Yet what she loves, even the very words for those things, is vanishing: I’m surprised by you showing up just as all my praise songs turn to elegies… I thoroughly recommend From Rowan Ridge, a celebration of a poet’s endless curiosity, yet a book with an inescapable bittersweet quality. Kinsey’s warnings are heartfelt, but are they too late…?”
“Chris Kinsey has a wonderful eye for the details of natural history matched with a poet’s playful accuracy of language.”
“From Rowan Ridge is a joyous and transformative book. The natural world bursts from every page but these are not simply descriptions. In them, Chris Kinsey is keeping faith with the best purposes of poetry, and with the countryside she knows and loves so well.”
“Kinsey is not a sentimental describer of nature but a writer whose own awareness of her surroundings makes us examine our whole relationship with one another, with animals and with the wider world in its modern context…
My own particular delight is in how Kinsey uses the senses, notably the sounds of everything she encounters. Many of the poems demand to be read aloud to get the cries of curlews, the irritation of the “scratchy biro” in an exam, the fabulous dialogue in Last Train from Aberystwyth. Kinsey gives us drama in False Orchids, so full of the sounds of a medical emergency with its “Beeps. Cheeps. Shrieks”, and the “whischt” of a heron taking off in Confession. Her mastery of alliteration and internal rhyme is effective as in “the standing stones have shrunk, sunk deeper” and the stones “bite through a beard of bracken” in Four Visits to Mitchell’s Fold.”
Ink, Sweat & Tears
“These poems are a love-letter to the Welsh countryside.”
“An immensely satisfying, enriching experience.”
About Chris Kinsey
Chris Kinsey is a celebrated nature poet: She was the BBC Wildlife Poet of the year 2008, won Natur Cymru’s prose competition in 2012 and writes a regular Nature Diary for Cambria. Chris has previously written three poetry collections: Kung Fu Lullabies and Cure for a Crooked Smile (Ragged Raven Press) and Swarf (Smokestack Books); and a poetry pamphlet Muddy Fox (Rack Press).
An example poem:
Eden is a vacant lot
‘Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild’ ~ W.B. Yeats
Her getaway is the red pedal car.
It’s hard to drive on the unmade road
so she parks on the vacant lot.
Small weeds welcome her:
Knotgrass, scarlet pimpernel
and a wealth of shepherd’s purses.
Who wants to nap when there’s bitter
dandelions to milk and chamomile
hearts to pinch and sniff?
Willowherb and goldenrod wave
her in Grand Prix style, conspiring
to hide her and keep all secrets.
A violet ground beetle guides her to
the cracks and kiting spiders spin
safety lines for her solo acts.
Cinnabar and burnet moths, daytime’s
poison beauties, swirl spots before her eyes
and flash scarlet-black stripes.
she watches goldfinches charm
thistle crowns. Down flies –
someone tells her airborne seeds are fairies
Make a wish! Make a wish!