Stella Davis is a poet who was able to give up the day job in 1999 thanks to an Arts Council initiative, which aimed to put "1000 artists in 1000 unusual places". Her "unusual place" was the port of Southampton, where her hosts were members of Southampton Cargo Handling, then the only stevedores' co-operative in the country. The day job had been in political PR and campaigns' organisation, enjoyed throughout the heady days of the 'nineties, and working at SCH were old comrades from those days.
After working at the port, Stella went on to another Arts Council residency at Winchester Cathedral, where she led many visits for schoolchildren, organised readings for guest poets, and encouraged the writing and reading of poetry with drop-in groups. She went on to conduct book groups and poetry workshops and to makes schools' visits, and is registered with The Poetry Society UK as provider of poetry education for adults and children. She writes poems on commission (tackling everything from Valentine greetings to a commemorative poem for the celebration of Beaulieu Abbey's Octocentenary) and describes herself as a jobbing poet. Winner of many awards, her work has been widely published in magazines and journals, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and is translated into Romanian as part of the poetryPRO programme at the University of Bucharest.
Stella has worked successfully with practitioners in other art forms, notably the artist Ben Gough in a collaboration of seascapes and sea poems, and the composers Andrew M. Wilson, Tomasz Mikolajewski, Krisztina Megyeri, and Robert Mingay Smith. Her latest collaboration with Andrew Wilson will be performed in 2023, as part of the Christopher Wren300 celebrations in London and Wiltshire (Wren's birthplace).
Stella is an incorrigible cyclist, and nowadays many of her poems emerge from bike rides, jotted on scraps of paper by the side of small roads in Somerset and Dorset. She lives with her husband, an academic lawyer (and cyclist), in Somerset, and moonlights as poet in residence at the church of St Mary at Hill in the City of London.
"She has such sureness, but in these poems she strides more like the wind than an academic being. She is elemental."
R.G. Gregory, South Poetry Magazine
"There is in her poetry a gracefulness, a beauty, a seriousness, and an accuracy, which make her a poet to enjoy, while at the same time feeling the elegance of instruction."
Sebastian Barker, The London Magazine
"..a very good and very readable poet. I don't often come across a collection of poetry that has me exclaiming 'Yes!' at poem after poem, but that was what happened as I read Last Boat to Avalon."
Wendy Cope, Mslexia