Guest Feature – Kerry Darbishire and Kelly Davis

Something a little different today. I have two poets discussing their poet collaboration Glory Days. I was drawn to this wonderful collection after hearing the ladies read the poems on an Open Mic evening. And of course you know how much I love collaborative projects after working on Sherry & Sparkly and Symbiosis. Without further ado, it’s over to Kerry and Kelly to tell you what inspired them to write this wonderful pamphlet.

Glory Days

Kelly Davis

Kerry and I both live in Cumbria and we met several years ago, at Geraldine Green’s Write on the Farm Poetry Workshops. After the Covid pandemic started, we both attended Angela Locke’s Zoom poetry workshops and got to know each other’s work. Kerry kindly invited me to collaborate with her on a pamphlet for a Hedgehog Poetry Press competition. Our submission, on the theme of motherhood and the different stages in a woman’s life, wasn’t selected. However, Kerry then showed the manuscript to Joy Howard, at Grey Hen Press, who liked it and offered to publish it under her Hen Run imprint.

I really enjoyed collaborating with Kerry on Glory Days. We communicated by email and found ourselves in agreement on everything, from choice and arrangement of poems to cover design. We have very different poetic styles and voices but many similar concerns, as women. I think that’s partly why people enjoy reading our pamphlet – one poem answers another, and it’s like listening to two poets having a conversation. Our mothers are both colourful, charismatic characters and several of our poems pay tribute to them. (My mother is still living – and she’s delighted to be a cover girl at last!) We’ve had some very positive responses to the pamphlet, from male as well as female readers. Sam Smith, at The Journal, called it a ‘time machine’ and said readers could ‘open it to step into [their] own memories.’

About Kelly Davis

Kelly Davis lives in West Cumbria and works as a freelance editor. Her poems have been widely anthologised and published in magazines including Mslexia, Magma and Shooter. In 2021 she came second in the Borderlines Poetry Competition and she has twice been shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.

Glory Days

Kerry Darbishire

Asking a poet to collaborate is something I’d never attempted before and wasn’t sure how it would work, but having met Kelly at various workshops and with reading her work on Write on the Farm workshops and Angela Locke’s online course, I instinctively felt we could work well together and bring our pamphlet idea to fruition.

Our project began with the idea of ‘motherhood’, both of us becoming mothers, our children growing up, and remembering our mothers (mine having died in 2005). It seemed very natural the way we initially discussed our experiences and began the exchange. Our email poetry conversation continued, both of us able to feedback honestly on each other’s poems. I wrote about times and events I might never have approached without this incentive. I loved how our writing styles differed but worked so well together. Some poems we thought didn’t fit, others fell easily into place. We bounced title ideas between us but finally both knew that Glory Days (from Kelly’s poem, ‘Walking in the Languedoc’) was perfect.

As soon as we were happy with our ‘conversation’, I approached Joy Howard of Grey Hen Press with our final manuscript. Joy responded immediately and after slight adjustments and ordering, Glory Days was published in 2021. This collection is a tribute to our mothers, and was a privilege and a pleasure to write. The feedback has been very positive, with readers recognising and identifying with the content of our poems.

About Kerry Darbishire

Kerry Darbishire songwriter, author and poet lives in remote farmhouse in Cumbria where most of her poetry is rooted. Her first collection A Lift of Wings, 2014, her second, Distance Sweet on my Tongue, 2018, both with Indigo Dreams Publishing. Kay’s Ark, the story of her mother, published by Handstand Press in 2016. Her pamphlet A Window of Passing Light published by Dempsey and Windle in 2021, also Glory Days, a collaboration with poet Kelly Davis was published in 2021 by Grey Hen Press.

Her poems appear widely in magazines and anthologies including: Artemis, Mslexia, Birmingham Journal, Finished Creatures, The Alchemy Spoon, Envoi, Atrium. She has won or been shortlisted in several prizes including Bridport 2017.

Links to social media

Kerry DarbishireTwitter

Kelly Davis Facebook Instagram Website



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