Three poems by Nadia Kingsley

On your loss

For David


The sleeve of your shirt is turned inside out
and you, without choice, reach
with your flesh and bone
into its tunnel
to the frayed cuff that circles
those bottomless monsters
then inch it all back
towards the world.


Later it is time
for more endless lying down
time that used to replenish.
You oh so carefully fold
what you have worn, life-long,
what despite it all you still care for.
When morning comes round
the sleeve of your shirt is turned inside out



Have you seen this boy?

For Sue Challis


This boy is six years.
His skin is like the milk he drinks.
Not even the sun dares tarnish it.

Undeveloped, I found him
rolled up: a nineteen eighties negative
waiting for me to move.

Look at how his small fingers curve,
the protruding belly of youth,
his curved back; look at how

even when I try to hold him in art
he slips, he fades, refusing to be fixed
despite that extra layer of varnish.

I still have that plain vase,
the cushion, the chairs, the green jug –
but the boy has gone, which leaves me

wondering what he was thinking –
this boy, now man, who always calls me
Mum… and me – left wishing


Sheep in Snow                

For Lis


It’s like a fresh page unsullied
It’s like colour’s an unnecessary construct
It’s as if it’s always been
It’s like dawn – when the rods of your eyes

Are what keep you alive.
It’s as if you’ve discovered you are always a child
You just hide it sometimes, and that
Snow turns the world anticlockwise.

All sound is muffled.
You watch the sheep watching you.
You want to be one of the flock
For look at your hat, gloves, scarf.

Everything about you holds its breath
It’s like the shutter speed of life is on infinite.
It’s like you’re folded into the web of time.
But still, you are the first to move.

As you walk away you say to yourself
All that sheep are interested in is their own survival.
But deep down – you now know the truth.
The sheep shake themselves out, behind you.


Nadia Kingsley



Nadia Kingsley is a poet and artist living on the West Midlands side of the border with Wales. She has collaborated with David Calcutt on the pamphlets Road Kill and Through the Woods. She has worked with poet Emma Purshouse, musician Giancarlo Facchinetti and astrophysicist Prof Trevor Ponman on e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g: the History of the Universe in 45 minutes – a performance in a mobile planetarium dome.

She owns Fair Acre Press and is a member of Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 scheme for emerging writers. Her work will feature in a group art exhibition in Qube Gallery, Oswestry called Painting by Pixels in August.

Banner image: Andrew_Writer

The haunting urban landscapes of Oldbury artist Alex Maczkowski

His work has been compared to George Clausen, one of the founding members of the New English Art Club, established in the late 1800s as an alternative to the Royal Academy.

The NEAC today embraces realist figurative art, but you can equally see in the work of Alex Maczkowski echoes of Impressionism and Symbolism.

His haunting urban scenes and solitary, mournful figures recall Khnopff and Klimt. Maczkowski himself cites influences as disparate as Edward Hopper and graphic novelist Chris Ware.

Chain Makers Cottage (Reworked) 2017 gouache on paper
Chain Maker’s Cottage (Reworked) 2017  – gouache on paper

The Black Country artist studied at Stourbridge College of Art and Design, then Chelsea School of Art, and explains his impulse to work with gouache and ink as a principally urban one:

‘When I started to work with landscapes, I naturally decided to focus on urban scenes. That paradoxical sense of disconnection and isolation whilst in the midst of a bustling city was something that I found particularly appealing.

‘I decided to work with tools more associated with graphic design – gouache and ink said ‘urban’ more so than oil on canvas. That youthful exuberance associated with graphic novels and comic strips seemed more appropriate. In fact, I was looking just as much at graphic novelist Chris Ware’s work as I was Edward Hopper…’

Allotment (Toxic Yellow) 2017 80 x 100cm Gouache and carbon on paper
Allotment (Toxic Yellow) 2017 – gouache and carbon on paper

Maczkowski employs a realist technique to produce evocative, atmospheric works displaying great compositional skill and an almost poetic, storytelling quality much in keeping with his influences.

Just as Clausen used light to enhance and dramatise his landscapes, so Maczkowski casts a glow over his urban scenes, either via an identifiable source (The Floating World of Absence) or  through a more general, almost supernatural presence (Allotment, Toxic Yellow and Proposed Methods of Escape).

Proposed Methods of Escape 1 (10 x 10) gouache and carbon on paper
Proposed Methods of Escape 1 – gouache and carbon on paper

A recent drawing of Colley Gate in the Black Country made it through to the second round of this year’s NEAC exhibition, where he won the 2017 Contemporary Arts Trust Award.

Other works have featured at the RWA Open Bristol, the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, the National Open Art Exhibition and a variety of shows in Birmingham, London, and in private collections here and abroad, making Maczkowski a highly sought-after artist.

Proposed Methods of Escape 2 Charcoal, carbon and varnish on paper
Proposed Methods of Escape 2 – charcoal, carbon and varnish on paper

He says, of drawing:

‘My interests aren’t necessarily about mark making as such, more to do with exploring the different ways a material can be manipulated. A pencil can draw a line but its lead can also be ground down and applied to the surface that way.

‘I’m also interested in the grid. The grid suggests construction, it also suggests transience in how it is used to scale up the drawing for another medium, such as painting, and it also acts a metaphor for the digital image. Sometimes I will leave areas of the drawing unfinished, I like the fact that a drawing is never fully completed.’

The Floating World Absence 2017 Coffee, carbon and varnish on paper
The Floating World Absence 2017 – coffee, carbon and varnish on paper



By Louise Palfreyman




Group Exhibitions (selected) –
2017 – RWA 165th Annual Open Exhibition – RWA, Bristol
2017 – ING Discerning Eye 2017 – Mall Galleries, London
2017 – National Open Art (NOA2017) – Bargehouse Gallery, London
2017 – Metropolis – RBSA Gallery, Birmingham
2017 The Sunday Time Watercolour Competition – Mall Galleries, London
2017 New English Art Club Open Exhibition – Mall Galleries, London
2017 DRAWN – RWA, Bristol
2017 Open All Media – RBSA Gallery, Birmingham2016 Society of Graphic Fine Art Draw 16 – The Menier Gallery, London
2016 Prize Exhibition – RBSA Gallery, Birmingham
2016 Centrala – Centrala Gallery, Birmingham
2016 Lynn Painter Stainers Prize Exhibition (London/Surrey)
Awards (most recent)
2017 The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition
2017 Contemporary Art Trust Prize, New English Art Club, Mall Galleries, London2009 Arts Council England funding for The Never Never project
My work is also held in both personal and private collections.