Then spree

Website of Nia Davies, poet, editor, writer, performer

Recent Poetry, Essays, PhD & Curation

Some recent work by Nia Davies


My second poetry collection, Votive Mess will be published by Bloodaxe in 2024. All fours (2017) my debut collection was shortlisted for the Roland Matthias Prize for Poetry with Wales Book of the Year (2018) and longlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize for First Collections (2019). Order All fours from the Bloodaxe website:


“Song-Song Stare”: Maggie O’Sullivan’s Ritual Listening in Poetry and Performance
Peer-revied article in the ESLA English Studies in Latin America, issue 24 on Performance, January 2023. Drawing from my recent research into ritual and poetry in the field of creative writing, this poetics essay explores performance and ritual in the work of Maggie O’Sullivan. I focus on sound poetry and listening to explore some of O’Sullivan’s ritual techniques of transformation. Link to full article, pdf:

Four Poems: Their attire, Anti-poetics – anti-techniques, Theatres of the Mouth, Mother of Oyster
Four new poems for Geraldine Monk in Blackbox Manifold 29, Winter 2022, from the University of Sheffield. These poems will be in my forthcoming collection from Blooodaxe in 2024. Link to poems:

Roads to Rome: Archival Research from Afar
Essay on research in a neglected Fine Arts Archive at the British School Rome
in Cultural Practices, September 2021, Link:


Threshold Moves: A Ritual Poetry Practice
PhD Thesis, 2021, University of Salford. My doctorate research (2017 – 2020) identifies and explores a practice of ritual poetry. Drawing on creative writing and embodied ritual practice, as well as theory from poetry, performance and anthropology, I present new theoretical and practical understandings of a field of ritual poetry. The thesis is driven by and composed of original creative works of ritual poetry in text, performance and poetics. I make a contextual-historical survey and readings of a selection of contemporary poets, particularly the works of Jerome Rothenberg, Maggie O’Sullivan and several other poets who experiment with ritual, as well as performance theorists and practitioners. I form a novel methodology of practice-based research in poetry and poetics. The thesis includes a poetics, a culminating text oriented towards the making of future works of ritual poetry. A copy of the thesis is available on request from University of Salford from the library repository: I am also currently preparing material arising from this research as book manuscript and further articles for publication.


I am currently on the curatorial committee of the Nawr experimental arts live events series in south Wales and the editorial committee of Pamenar press focusing on experimental intercultural poetics.

The issues of Poetry Wales I edited from 2014 – 2019, seventeen issues 50.1 – 55.1 are also available here:

Dirty, tender, ludic: All fours

Earlier in the spring, my collection of poems All fours was shortlisted for the Roland Mathias Award for poetry, part of Wales Book of the Year. Kathryn Gray from the judging panel had this to say about the book

From its opening pages, All fours reveals itself as a strange, magnetically attractive book. The deployment of language is glorious. The sound effects present, but unexpected. Attempting my first draft of this, I wrote down the key descriptors that occurred to me when I reflected on this book and its authorial voice, thinking it might simplify a swift reasoning of our verdict. That caused me some problems. Dizzying, heady, gorgeous, dirty, funny, tender, intimate, estranging, political, disturbing, international, local, ludic, vulnerable, in your face, surreal… It is a book for which the high-concept, elevator pitch is impossible to formulate. It defies any simple figure, and that is very much the point. All fours is very much of our discombobulating era. It is indeed a wild ride, but behind this lie great discipline and skill. It insisted on its inclusion, because it simply wouldn’t let us go. The hallmark of an exceptional book, in any genre.

All fours is out from Bloodaxe Books. Buy it here! 

And congratulations to the Wales Book of the Year winner in English, Robert Minhinnick for his book Diary of the Last Man.

All fours cover by Nia Davies

All fours shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year

All fours is on the shortlist for the Wales Book of the Year 2018 in the Poetry in English category!

The poems in All fours were recently described as ‘ludic, perplexing and roaming’ in a review in the TLS by Leaf Arbuthnot. ‘Profane, charismatic and at times infuriating, Nia Davies’s poetry glitters above all thanks to its energy’ she writes.

All fours is available from the Bloodaxe website. Wales Book of the Year will be announced on the 26th of June.

All fours cover by Nia Davies


Instant Triangle! New work in MAI Feminism

A hybrid poetry experiment in the world of Instagram, ‘Instant Triangle’, is included in the very first edition of MAI Feminism journal. This writing and collage explores the triangular gaze of desire on social media.

Check out the brilliant MAI Creative Response section here, first crop edited by the incandescent Amy McCauley.



Oceanik – poem by Nia Davies. Film by Lucia Sellers, music by Charlie Miles. A selection at the 2018 Film and Video Symposium.


Interversions Cover thmbnail

Interversions is a multilingual poetic collaboration between Mamta Sagar and Nia Davies exploring the manifestation of poetry in multiple mediums such as performance, translation, film, sound, installation and friendship bringing together people and poetry from Wales and Karnataka. Events, workshops and activities took place across the UK and India in 2017 and 2018. Starting in Wales in May 2017 before moving into England then to Bengaluru in August 2017 the project involved poets, translators, musicians, dancers, performers and communities in a rolling set of ‘interversions’. Interversions is part of the Poetry Connections initiated by Literature Across Frontiers, part of India Wales from British Council Wales and Wales Arts International, a major season of artistic collaboration between the two countries to mark the UK-India Year of Culture.

Interversions is also a book from Poetrywala and three poetryfilms made with Shristifilms.


Poem from new collection ‘All fours’




Remembered suddenly my noswaith dda attire
my trying taxonomies of sing song

my motionless carriage &/ my empathy carriage

and that I tried to strike the note of clasp-breast horror slasher maxed-out body resurrection.

At least tried my best, then.

I can’t but pity Exonymic countries
or cobbled together lucky folk, steamy flashes

and celtic music makes me tired.

I can try and declare myself friendly, but I am
terrible and to be noted,     wind-slapped,

aching pussy, not sure what to want.

In the apples the pips burned.

Stood in the coachyard teleologic,
had a personal jesus on a pin.

That was something that was passable as sex, at least.

I suppose technicalities made this regrettable.
I have a synthetic lemon feeling about it
the way murderers like it, clean.

Maudlin is not the same as macabre.

Do whatever you like, he says,

and, I, sandalwood,

dream of the threaded lip,
the pursuit of needlework,
bicarbonate of soda citric,

hurt me hurt me

hold me hold me

I shouldn’t have to explain.

Look at my flaws
all around my life like chickenpox.

Wondered whether I’d die like
this with a cock in my mouth, that’s

a flashback, that’s why everything has a trigger
warning now, that’s when the idea

full throttle

becomes hundreds of droplets, panic.

We weren’t sure if that went well or not,
none of us are sure whether that went well,

when I was 18,
when I was 18 oh god


This poem  is from All fours, my debut collection. Out on 23rd June with Bloodaxe. More information here.

all fours cover small

All fours: New Collection out June 2017

all fours cover small

Bodies. Rhythms. Motion. Sounds. All fours is a debut collection of poetry from Nia Davies, a book of rituals in language that stalk the space between what is uttered and what is meant. These poems are haunted by the strange traces of the longest words in the world and folk-mythic figures such as Sinbad, Eurydice, Mossy Coat, Pan and Baba Yaga. They pose riddles with multiple or mysterious answers.

A swerving sweary jump into a terrain that is both comically musical and perplexedly political, All fours speaks of the (mis)adventures of sex and human communication, a life full-to-bursting with burning questions.

‘Nia Davies’s poems are sharply attentive to the realm of the ‘inner ear’, a meeting point of external and internal environments. The lines have their own intense music, but instead of approaching song’s recognition and resolution they push towards the unfamiliar. Archaeologies and soundscapes are carefully excavated in language that sparks at every turn, while multiple directions open for the reader and ‘choice is a parallelogram / best made on the slant”.’ —Zoë Skoulding

‘Bemused, amused, angry, frustrated, erudite, discursive, and always fresh (fresh is one of the words that might define Nia’s poetry) she comes at them from every angle.’ – Mark Waldron

‘Nia Davies quietly dismembers the world around her with a gleeful irreverence and quirky humour. This is poetry full of unexpected twists and turns which both delights and disturbs in equal measures. What a treat to have this substantial collection from one of the most enigmatic new voices in poetry today.’ – Geraldine Monk

‘Nia Davies writes rich and adventurous poems. Her work feels borderless… In the event that an “I” surfaces in her work, it is defiantly plastic and multivalent.’ – Dai George

Readings, Discussions, Mumbai

For the Sesquipedalians: Long Words

Çekoslovakyalılaştıramadıklarımızdanmısınız or Long Words, my new chapbook, is now available to buy from this site. It contains a series of poems expanding on some impossibly strange long words from various different languages. Postage is free and proceeds go to Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group. There’s an afterword from the marvellous Mark Waldron.

On Sunday the 19th of June the book will be discussed as part of the BBC Radio Three programme ‘An Explosion of Geraniums’ on the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition where Dylan Thomas served cups of boiled string. My chapbook, alongside others published in the ‘Boiled String’ series, will be featured.

Long Words is also reviewed in Zarf zine by Julia Rose Lewis, where she says ‘With bull excrement, sorrels, and vaginas, Davies’ poems bring the long words alive and will turn many readers into sesquipedalians.’

Here’s some pink Haeckel trilobites for the ‘fossil inside’ you:

Long Words - back cover