Mentoring with Compass 2022

25 January 2022

We are very pleased to announce the six awardees for this year’s Compass Mentoring Scheme, who between them represent some of what Dumfries & Galloway’s talented and vibrant writing community has to offer, this time in particular poetry!

Chelsea Nash

Chelsie Nash

Chelsie Nash is a local actor, writer and spoken word artist, who specialises in solo performances. She became involved in Dumfries's creative scene in 2019, performing comedic monologues at open mic nights. During that time, she created and portrayed a range of colourful characters, and would often use poetry, storytelling and audience interaction in her act. She has written monologues and stories, along with two seasonal shows.

While she loves writing for performance, either through spoken word or characters, Chelsie has always longed to write a book, and has decided that after years of coming up with ideas – and starting stories that were doomed to be left unfinished – to settle on an idea she believes will be one she will enjoy writing, and that she hopes people will enjoy reading. 

Jane Mc Beth image

Jane McBeth

Jane McBeth stays in the Glenkens, where she feels very fortunate to be able to make part of her living as coordinator of the Ken Words writing project – organising activities and events to encourage others to engage with, and enjoy the benefits of, both writing and the landscape of the Galloway Glens catchment. Haiku has been her ‘home’ form, and even as she feels an itch to see where more words and longer lines could lead, it remains at the heart of her approach to writing. Citing the Welsh poet Ken Jones, she holds that, ‘At my best, I write haiku to live, rather than live to write haiku.’

As a Compass mentee, Jane would like to gather together, and explore ways of presenting, her writings, most of which are unpublished, but some of which have appeared in haiku journals and Southlight magazine. And, most importantly, she hopes that the creative interaction with her mentor will generate something new; a sense of being capable of more than she knew.

Giancarlo Rinaldi

Giancarlo Rinaldi

Giancarlo Rinaldi is a Scottish-Italian writer who has lived in Dumfries & Galloway for most of his life apart from spells studying in Edinburgh, Darlington and Borgo San Lorenzo near Florence. His published works include the Football Italia guide to the 1993/94 football season, a history of the local Italian community – From the Serchio to the Solway – and Great Dumfries Stories. He hopes to use the mentoring programme to help him develop his poetry – following in the footsteps of his Italian grandfather and great-grandfather – and use it for public performances. Among his favourite themes are family, food and football.

Margaret Poynor Clark

Margaret Poynor-Clark

Margaret is a retired paediatrician. She moved to Kippford in 2013. She wrote poetry as a young child but never explored it as the rigours of medical training combined with bringing up a young family took over. She says, 'I wasn’t looking for poetry, it found me as I was running in the Dalbeattie Forest in the first lockdown.'

Margaret is interested in exploring emotional topics such as old age, bereavement and illness. She hopes the mentoring project will provide a helping hand to make her poetry get to the emotional core of her subjects as well as improve her technique. As yet she has no publications but is optimistic that this scheme will bring her closer to sharing her work with others.

Fiona Lindsay

Fiona Lindsay

Fiona Lindsay graduated from the University of Dundee with a degree in English Literature. Fiona enjoys travelling and when offered a one-year teaching placement in Dumfries & Galloway in 2016 she took it. She fell in love with area and stayed. Rediscovering the landscape of Scotland and becoming a mother shortly before lockdown reignited Fiona’s desire to write.

Fiona was shortlisted for the Dumfries & Galloway Fresh Voice Award as part of the Wigtown Poetry Prize. Poetry has proved a way to make connections and Fiona is part of a local writing group. She continues to write poetry and is hoping mentoring will help her to curate her collection and find her voice.

Stewart mentoring

Stewart Robertson

Stewart sees himself as a conundrum. For half his life he’s earned his living from writing. What he’s written has been read in detail and closely scrutinised. For a period of time it was published. Stewart has been a teacher, an HM Inspector of Schools in England, and an educational consultant. Till now, his poetry – written ‘off and on’ for almost 70 years – has been unrecognised, except by family and friends. 

Stewart favours poems that challenge their readers to pick up clues to unpick meaning. A friend calls his poems ‘pokey’. He loves to juggle with words and delights in unconventional subjects and approaches. Stewart hopes the mentoring scheme will result in his poems being read by a wider audience.