REVIEWS of A Pair of Three

[Claire Crowther’s] technical ability never shows so clearly as when she expresses the feeling of another’s presence in that simplest-looking and most vernacular of all forms, the ballad. No form looks so easy to write; none is so easy to write badly. In “The Visitor”,

While he was out I read a book.
I had to rest that day.
Then I heard a key in the lock
and steps in the hallway

the tension begins with the pinpoint rhythms of those third and fourth lines and ratchets up throughout.
If this review begins to resemble a series of quotes, that is because it is very hard to express an idea in more telling words than those Crowther uses.

Must we all leave
down the line lyrical lying where we will? (Illyria by Rail).

“And what should I do in Illyria”, indeed… This is one of those collections that, because of the universality of its subject matter, speaks immediately to the reader. But at the same time, said reader recognises the presence of a powerful intellect and a depth of meaning that does not yield itself at a first reading.

Sheenagh Pugh
https://sheenaghpugh.livejournal.com, 1 October 2022

 
 

REVIEWS of Solar Cruise

“Claire Crowther’s fourth collection Solar Cruise, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Spring 2020, is a deeply moving and introspective memoir, which documents the relationship between herself, a poet, and her husband physicist. Her linguistic choices––pneumonic rhetoric, metaphors and similes––demonstrate the value of researching and making strides to combat the adverse effects of climate change. In Solar Cruise, Crowther examines the language of science closely and discovers the poetry hidden underneath.

Her collection opens with a question:

‘Where are the small experimentalists? Where are the cellar labs and the string and the three a.m. light burners? […] Are all the science professionals shiny nowadays?’
Here, Crowther marvels at the shabby scientists who quietly comb their research, defining ‘small matter’. These are the men and women who make history, their patience uncovers the kind of minute change that reshapes our view of earth. This prosaic prologue aptly grounds the collection’s overarching love story.”
Shanley McConnell, Dundee University Review of the Arts


“I finally got around to reading a unique book that has been sitting on my shelf for way too long, and that probably would have stayed there for many more months if my sun coined brain hadn’t made the connection…

a less skilled poet would need a much bigger canvas for such intricate topics but not Crowther. She effortlessly weaves the various aspects together, thereby creating a collection of poetry that speaks volumes without wasting words…

In a nutshell, Solar Cruise is an interesting, thought-provoking, challenging and captivating collection of poetry that summons readers to listen to and learn from the solar physicists, such as Keith Barnham, who are trying to, literally, guide us into the light so that we may finally realise that solar energy could save us. For that reason, I believe that everyone would benefit from reading this book, however, due to its scientific aspects and intricate language, I would mostly recommend it to longtime poetry enthusiasts who have a nag for science and/or are interested in climate change as well as readers who are looking for a challenge and are eager to learn and broaden their literary horizon.”
The Possibility Poet, 6 May 2021


“Claire Crowther’s new collection, Solar Cruise, is a brilliant complete journal of the anger felt by those of us staring the heat-death of the planet in the face while the markets busy themselves elsewhere. Set within the love story between a poet and a physicist who specialises in solar technology, Crowther’s book is an increasingly blinding statement of hard facts and deep feeling.

Crowther frequently creates moments […] when we fall through the fear and anger, and glimpse the beauty of what is being destroyed and what will destroy us, and renders it wondrous both in its power and consequence.

In this collection, there is a diversity of form long-present in Crowther’s work, but ideally suited to this book’s subject. The poems dart in and out of formal and rhythmic patterns, and shift in a manner not unlike, yes, the shifting of light and shadow through a day.

The continual splits and breaks – of revelation, of particle, of opinion – that populate this book and kaleidoscope it wonderfully are not simply the ‘rational’ mind of a scientist contrasting or aligning with the ‘romantic’ mind of a poet – what a dull book that would be. Instead, they are often Crowther’s seemingly split-internal reflections on another’s thought and the very nature of how difference feeds and defines attraction.

Crowther is perhaps the first climate poet to demonstrate, in a book-length execution, that the poetry needed is not simply a recasting of the pastoral and natural, but a pulsing, vivid writing of knowledge, with poetry and science codependent and coexpressive. Fusion, in a word, which will save us both here and beyond, if enough people speak like this.”
Patrick Davidson Roberts, Poetry School Blog, December 2020


“I was mesmerised by how the complex science of Quantum Photovoltaics and Solar Energy not only have informed this rich and inventive collection, but also elevated it to a whole new level, where scientific and everyday details fuse with great flair. …

Crowther’s playful use of form and language, the way she explores the poem’s appearance on the page, highlighting its strangeness, creates a sense of constant discovery – not only linguistic but political – eventually awakening in the reader an environmental awareness. …

This outstanding collection reads as a profound love poem, a generous gift from an inquisitive poet to her bright and devoted physicist partner in a lucid relationship filled with creativity, mutual appreciation and respect. It is a brilliant journey that takes the reader to unexpected and exhilarating places.”
Leo BoixMagma 78, December 2020


“Claire Crowther mosaics together poetic and scientific discourse to create new adventures in thought…These poems perpetually test the ability of science language to infiltrate the lyric, to begin to make another kind of sense to that which hard science requires. …There’s a problem here – a gap in public understanding – and in that void, Crowther’s poems dance and glow.:
Irony 2: the History of the Waist by Lisa Meitner
Who Famously Described the Splitting Atom as Waisted

A man does not have a waist.
He has a midriff. A middle.

He also has a belly and a breadbasket,
a paunch, a pot and general girth.

A woman has a waist.
A woman is required to identify her waist.
A woman gains a neutron to do this.
A man remains a spherical uranium nucleus. p26 Solar Cruise

Crowther’s poems are fizzily cerebral, wordplay-avid, both sensuous and ratiocinative. “I write crosswise. I experiment with words.”
Vidyan Ravinthiran, Poetry Book Society Recommendation Spring Bulletin 2020


“Solar Cruise enacts a union between two campaigns which implicate two major human faculties. One is the research in particle physics to develop a more efficient and productive source of energy directly from sunlight, in opposition to the fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies, with the purpose of saving the human species from extinction. The second is the production of a modern poetry which is in harmony with this by engaging with it on a personal and emotional level and as a language resource which meets specifically the trials and successes of the scientific research and enounces them into the processes of poetry, resulting in a range of poetical writing determined by its engagement with the ups and downs of the research project. Its purpose is on the face of it to broadcast the same message about the urgency of the task, though not, obviously, to extend it to a mass of readers. The difficulties, both of the research itself and of persuading people of power to take it seriously, translate as intensification of the modernity of the text, its power of instant movement from one thought to the next, from echo to discovery, but it is never defeating. The ultimate purpose here is the collaboration of science and art, although in the end, of course, poetry can only be its own purpose.
…This is not that kind of poetry which saves itself from accusation of irrelevance by attaching itself to a given cause, be it social or political or ecological, without actually contributing anything beyond approval, and bypassing any inhering problems, like good old-fashioned landscape description claimed as revolutionary ecology. The two disciplines are here much more intimately engaged with each other…

I would value this book principally as a fascinating collection of inter-related poems operating in a common narrative, particularly successful in engaging with scientific matter in passionate tones, but also sharing with the research the emotions of success and failure. It shows the confidence of a poetry which has gotten itself a subject worth having.”
Peter Riley, Poetry Notes, Fortnightly Review, November 2020


“Solar Cruise ***Poetry Book Society Recommendation, Spring 2020 Claire Crowther’s latest collection is a sequence of love poems addressed to her partner Keith Barnham, a Distinguished Research Fellow at Imperial College, London. Many of the poems celebrate Barnham’s promotion of solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, hence the ‘solar’ of the book’s title… In ‘Electricity Generation in Germany in a Typical April Week’, for example, Crowther writes:

…while others say the sun doesn’t shine enough
it does.

It shines most powerfully

at the peak of our demand,
when we most need it–

Barnham’s mission is Crowther’s mission, physicist and poet joining hands. It’s nice to see a book of poetry concerned with climate change subverting the usual eschatological tropes.”
Simon Collings, Stride, April 2020


“The parallel between physicist and poet is constantly stressed in wordplay: lyrics/physics, physics/physic…Crowther, like George Herbert, does not really think the way words act and echo each other is ever mere coincidence. She plays too, throughout this collection, with lineation, parallel text and line breaks, continually forcing us to think again:

There’s a scar-
City of prophet. (Wingding)

The voyage of the two protagonists, and of humanity in general, is also full of literary and historical allusion, quite apart from the lexis of physics, and I wouldn’t claim the navigation is always easy. But both the central relationship and the passionate belief in a cause come over very clearly and strongly, and the dense, intricate verbal technique yields more with each reading.

It struck me as remarkable that a collection with such a powerful and deeply-felt message never sounded like preaching. Indeed my memories of it – apart from the wry humour of the “rapture physicists” and the ship’s foghorn that goes “ohhhm, ohhhm” – are principally of excitement, the excitement that comes from thinking about something new. I’m not surprised this book netted a Poetry Book Society recommendation.”
Sheenagh Pugh

REVIEWS of Knithoard

“In Knithoard, Claire Crowther presents us with a gorgeous celebration of the art of knitting, a so-called ‘low art’…
The poems are small and tight, not taking up a huge amount of space on the page, but they are concentrated and undiluted and they encourage you to spend a lot of time with them; as you take your time the knitting becomes mystical, legendary, and at the same time a deeply practical craft….
Claire Crowther makes me think really hard about each word and the way it’s been placed in the line, in the stanza and on the page and that makes me a better reader. “
Ian McMillan, The North, January 2020


“These are not really poems about knitting, they are poems about life, and death, and learning, and the decisions we make as we progress from one to the other. Crowther explicitly includes and welcomes those who might not be familiar with knitting by placing her glossary of terms at the front of the collection instead of the back. ‘Please don’t think this book is not for you,’ it seems to say. I would give these poems to any number of my knitting friends, of course, but I would urge them on any other reader as well. This pamphlet is a wonderful accomplishment. Crowther has taken a topic that’s almost impossible to write about without sounding quaint or sentimental and made something astonishing.”
www.dianemulholland.com, November 2019


“Crowther’s words are working. One of poetry’s roles is to restore and keep alive what we knew, not as nostalgia but as part of life’s fabric, something with its own pattern. Knitting is not just about wool; it holds potent memories, as do these poems.”
D.A. Prince, Sphinx, 2019


“Claire Crowther takes a lyrical view of the knitter’s life in her new poetry collection, Knithoard. Claire’s carefully crafted poems explore themes such as tension woes, dropped stitches, working in the round, and discovering unwanted handknits in a charity shop.”
The Knitter 112, October 2019

REVIEWS of Bare George

“…Claire Crowther works a rich surrealism into her pamphlet Bare George, the result of a year-long residency at the Royal Mint Museum in LLantrisant….There is something scholarly about the presentation of the work that takes place in the mint…The imaginative work of the poet, though, pulls away from scholarly history and into poems that enunciate for metal, for the makers of coins…the sequence plays with its reader, talking out and at the audience: “Xphrastic art, is that what you’re calling this poem?” And ends with an assertion of living residue in the inanimate coin – a history of killing beasts.”
Edwina Attlee, The Poetry Review, Summer 2017


“The appeal of this pamphlet is the way it takes the most esoteric subject – Benedetto Pistrucci’s 1817 King George sovereign – and riffs on it so well. … There’s no ignoring the political content, and you have to applaud an artist who sees a stint at a museum in Wales as an opportunity for a feminist treatment of religious and fiscal symbolism…

‘The Coin Maker Explains’ is a seriously sexy poem: ‘I gleam green yellow with yellow / smoke (my molten- / ness) […] I am swarf sharp’; but it’s also very witty, full of puns: ‘I’m taken / for an assay.’ This is reminiscent of Angela Carter’s work (which probably featured a dragon or two, as well) and makes good use of Crowther’s syllabics. Here we see how arbitrary formal features can produce surprising and intriguing effects precisely because they liberate the poet from intention. Even better when combined with some verbal ambiguity, as in ‘When I weigh two tons, graphite / dies at the end // sever.’

…there’s much to love about this pamphlet if you’re willing to meet the poet halfway, and much that is memorable for its eccentricity and skill.”
Humphrey Astley, Sabotage Reviews, March 2017


“The authority of the poem’s voice and the beauty of its vowels create a different currency. Crowther’s writing has a riddling intensity…Reviewers can rarely generalise about the impact made by a poet’s words. But at readings I have seen audience members, whose own words are very different, throng to buy Crowther’s work, deeply impressed by her condensed, quick-witted poems.”
Alison Brackenbury, PN Review, January/February 2017


“The verse form here is varied, incorporating lots of found copy and different text shapes on the page. You could get lost in its apparent sophistication and miss the jokes. In fact, it’s jam-packed with puns…Ho ho, the wordplay sizzles. This is a poet having fun.”
Helena Nelson, Sphinx, 2017


“[Bare George is] certainly a lot better than most of the other crap out there.”
Charlie Bayliss, Stride, June 2015

REVIEWS of On Narrowness

“Claire Crowther’s third full collection, On Narrowness, has a … willingness to abandon convention in its search for meaning in the quotidian. As with her previous books, she does this by embracing the entirety of human experience, writing about the intricacies of relationships as skilfully as she does about science and the natural world…

‘The Apology’ is wonderful, from its opening “Mosquitoes charged me with their sour sugar/ outside the vinegar house” to the concluding [lines]…

It’s never easy poetry, but it’s hugely rewarding, because Crowther’s curiosity about both words and the processes of living and dying compel you to consider familiar subjects in a fresh way…

… throughout the book there’s the awareness that nothing happens exactly as we expect it to, or ever proceeds in a straightforward fashion…

Crowther brings gentle humour into several poems, without ever letting it threaten to overpower the piece’s intellectual impetus, and she can be bracingly direct and personal, too, when she needs to be…

The final poem here, ‘Rockborne’, is another hymn to variousness and the need to keep moving on, to make what you can of what life throws your way, and its closing lines leave you wanting more of Crowther’s bravely individual poetry.”
Matt Merritt, Magma 63, November 2015


“[‘The Alices’] is an intriguing and rewarding poem, clever and ludic by terms… All done with great humour and skill”

“‘The two most engaging powers of an author: new things are made familiar, and familiar things are made new’ [Samuel Johnson]. I think this poem manages both.”
Peter Carpenter, The North, January 2016


“I love this clever poem [‘The Alices’]… ‘Poetry communicates before it is understood’, said T.S. Eliot, and this poem seems to deliberately confound our dogged insistence on meaning, our enslavement to the tyrannies of definition, as Carroll’s original did… By putting on Carroll’s mantle, the author of ‘The Alices’ in inscribing herself in this long line of English writers mimicking and parodying her predecessors as they did theirs, and above all, having fun with words. And ‘The Alices’ is funny! Lines like ‘If the raths don’t outgrabe’ and ‘I thought, they all do it, the toves’ made me laugh out loud!”
Mary Noonan, The North, January 2016


“Crowther…has an eye for the life of objects, the outside perspective. ‘Examine yourself, river’ is how ‘Snail’ begins; ‘my body thinks my voice is God’, runs an aside in ‘The Apology’; an earlier, untitled poem itemizes everything in a room from the ‘Single bed’ to the ‘breeze sniping in’ through an ‘Uncontrollable curtain’. …Transparency is not all it’s cracked up to be.”
Michael Caines, Times Literary Supplement Poem of the Week, online 19 May 2015


“Crowther [gives us] single words with multiple meanings, single words stripped out of existing contexts and given new ones and –rather brilliantly here – even uses the invented portmanteaux of the Jabberwocky to substitute ‘real’ words in a way that feels both natural and playful. Crowther excels at rewriting familiar words and ideas, using form and language as a kind of game…The collection sings with games of form and language but in a very naturalistic way…Many of the poems draw us in with the initial lure of narrative, only to transform the central image in startling ways, all done with a feel of organic effortlessness that can only be delivered with great skill.”
Chrissy Williams, Poetry London, Autumn 2015


“This poetry reveals its beauty slowly through its accumulation of imagery and line and a wide attention to the world around it…Precision of language, depth of field and a tight hold on language distinguish these poems, but there is also an edge of innovation that sees her writing poems that sometimes bring you up short.…Throughout, I’m reminded both of Thom Gunn and Lee Harwood, and that’s no mean feat in this lovely collection of lyrics. Crowther is one of the finest lyricists I’ve read in a while.”
Steven Waling, Stride, 2015


“What I found myself thinking throughout the collection [was] I recognize her, I’ve been in that position, I know someone like him. She offers descriptions that are meaningful outside of their specific situations…Crowther’s meander through the physical meanings of narrowness as well as the mental meanings is enjoyable in its informal delivery and in its variation. “
Kate North, Poetry Wales, Autumn 2015

REVIEWS of Silents

“Claire Crowther uses poetry to explore the world of silent movies… Crowther uses syllabics to mirror the limitations of expressions without speech and the need for telling a story with few words – the intertitles – which must be sized and shaped by the ease with which they would be read from a screen…Like the “Silents”, the poems make the most of their restrictive forms and provide a concise homage to silent movies.”
Emma Lee, London Grip, June 2015


“This elegantly designed book is a heartfelt, original account of one viewer’s headlong tilt into silent cinema. If you love silent film too, it will stir your passions anew. And delightfully, it is just as rich in mystery and multilayered meanings as the best of early cinema.” Read full review
Silent London, June 2015


“Yes, film’s made of light. Silents is a very conceptually tight work, beautifully executed… [with a] delicate web of connections and imagery that Crowther has generated. For example, in the first poem, The Inflammatory Properties of Celluloid—for Oscar Micheaux, she works with ideas on the star/light/screen axis: movie stars, stars used in intertitles to blank out slurs, the star of the nitrate edge symbol; film projection, the darkness of night and the theatre, a digitized film, the screen of her mobile phone. That’s an astonishing density of imagery in just fourteen lines…Crowther is an incredibly concise writer; all of the poems have fewer than twenty lines. These are short sensory impressions rather than extended meditations, but they say everything that they need to. I won’t say that every single poem grabbed me, but quite a few of them did, and several stuck deeply in my mind.”
Silents, Please! 9 October 2015

REVIEWS of Incense

“the combination of conformity and contrast has produced a small volume of gems”
Roddy Williams, My Life in the Bush of Shepherds, Feb 2018


“In Incense Crowther has found a verse form, the fatras, so appropriate to her subject – the social, medical, commercial and psychological dimensions of fat – that I had to look it up to make sure it wasn’t a Borgesian invention. But no – it’s a medieval form…Fat gain, fat loss, the tyranny of the changing room, the treachery of our body chemistry – all are given a memorable jolt by the form with its (slimmed) initial message, for example: ‘fat is killer and duvet – soft cosh /flashing nucleoli in the dark’.”
Alasdair Paterson, Stride, 2011


“My view is that the entire sequence is a minor revelation – an almost outrageously blessed ravelling of traditional form and contemporary subject… Like Marianne Moore, she is able to locate the poetry asleep in the language of science.”
David Morley, Poetry Review, Autumn 2011


“This extraordinary meditation uses the fatrasie form, made popular as nonsense poems in medieval France, but Crowther’s treatment is far from nonsense, these poems shift from indictment to sympathy, exposing us to our bizarre modern horror of size and weight in poems that are exquisite, memorable and deeply poignant.”
Chris Hamilton Emery, March 2011

REVIEWS of Mollicle

“At the lucid end of the spectrum, Claire Crowther’s considerable reputation can only be enhanced by her two most recent works, [Mollicle and Incense]. Mollicle is full of relationships and encounters, described with a deceptive clarity and poise. Reflective in both senses, they open up unexpected vistas before and behind the reader, become suddenly opaque, slip from voice to voice, take unexpected turns. ‘Self-portrait as windscreen’ shows style and argument in fusion:

Do you think I’m clear on every issue
just because I’m glass?
Have you heard yourself calling ‘Claire

Claire, Claire, Claire’ when you’re confused?
A name is lulling
when you aren’t clear on every issue.”
Alasdair Paterson, Stride, 2011


“…the collection of a poet whose work is fully achieved and anything but conventional – unless to leatn from Alice Oswald, Selima Hill, Gillian Allnutt is convention. Twenty one poems are enough to show Crowther’s variousness, her delight in language…”
John Greening, Times Literary Supplement, 2011


“I once wrote of Claire Crowther that she can create pleasure with a single word. Mollicle is one such word. Mollicle is Crowther’s own invention and means daughter; it seems to describe exactly the act of mothering, the intimacy and friction of the relationship. Crowther writes about female situations, experiences and especially relationships better than any other poet I can name.”
Emily Hasler, Warwick Review, March 2011


“Characters are presented as individuals and we are invited to examine them not as a group, or as women, but as unique personalities, following different paths through a troubled thicket.”
Kirsten Irving on Dr Fulminares Questionable Arts, Jan 2011

REVIEWS of Clockwork Gift

Claire Crowther’s poems are of that happy breed that are readable and challenging at the same time…the poems I find myself giving the thumbs up to are those that somehow manage the trick of having one foot in this world and one in another completely original world of the poet’s own making, as well as, and this is the even trickier bit, being well and elegantly and intelligently written.

…When someone tells you Claire Crowther’s book of poems is ‘about’ the place of older women in society, or a meditation on age, or something of the sort, shrug your shoulders and make a cup of tea and help yourself to one of your grandmother’s angel cakes. This is what matters:

Let the Cassandra dogs be warned off now. Let
every sibilant from your moiderer’s mouth be
bleached. Let teeth crowd out your think aloud
with heavy metal crowns that do not fit. Let
each word as it breathes burn you an ice-capped
ulcer. Let syllable-streams wandering miles from
where they start clam up with choke weed to
the throat.
(from ‘A Curse On Your Moider’)

Something here takes you to somewhere you’ve not been before or, arguably, to a place you half-recognise and look around you with senses that are engaged.

…here’s a door and I’m opening it and suggesting that were you to go through it into Claire Crowther’s pages with whatever you call your mind ‘open’ you may not be disappointed. Remember (we forget it so often) poems have a duty to remind you that you are alive and can think.

Martin Stannard, Stride, 2009


“While her poems can be crystal-clear, more often they are riddling, veering, mysterious; deadly serious or quietly funny.”
Richard Price, Times Literary Supplement, October 16, 2009


“The Clockwork Gift comes just two years after Stretch of Closures, Crowther’s distinctive debut, and between them they add up not just to a promising first collection and a speedy follow-up, but a real and achieved body of work by a striking talent. The Clockwork Gift is a pleasure to read.”
David Wheatley, New Welsh Review, Autumn 2009


“Crowther’s great skill is to evoke a definitely modern world while using a range of language and reference that stretches back into history… I feel I have barely begun to explain all The Clockwork Gift has to offer. Crowther’s craft is masterful, she is commendable for her inventiveness and humour. I cannot record here all the small delights it brings in single poems, single lines, and even single retrieved or newly-coined words. Having read this book you are entangled in it, lured back to its enigmatic world again and again.”
Emily Hasler, Warwick Review, 2010


“Very few poets create their own unique world. Claire Crowther does, and it’s all the more rich and strange for being made of language. She’s one of the most original and imaginative poets now writing.”
Matthew Francis, 2008


“Crowther writes with visual brilliance elsewhere of female ageing… ‘The Herebefore’ re-asserts a natural continuity which gains its strength from the poet’s questioning of her own artful procedures. By the time we reach the triumphant declaration at the end of the poem – “No skull but a new-coined queen” – elements of Heaney and his gendered bog poetry have started to show through, but they’ve been reclaimed and re-oriented.”
Poetry Review, Summer 2009


“Claire Crowther weaves fragments of imagery together to create a picture which is strange, sinister, and haunting. .. If there is any justice in the world, this book will be on the shortlists for all the prizes this year, not just the usual suspects.”
Rob Mackenzie, May 2009


“The book’s various careful, and often witty, approaches to age remind me of Agnès Varda…That’s a radical move against our current cultural fear and exclusion of that which ages. She finds in age exactly the glow produced by late blooming, the fire of energies that have been banked and are flaring up. … Crowther is and isn’t the wolf in grandmother’s clothing: hungry for language and its scenes, she essays an appetitive poetry that is inspiring in its openness, its generosity in giving time — and its effects — to the reader.”
Sophie Mayer, Delirium’s Library, June 2009

REVIEWS of Stretch of Closures

“The best poems in the book work through their self-possessed oddity: quirky without being fey, not troubling to reassure the reader, they give the impression of an uncompromising intelligence at work…Crowther presents an attractively poised voice, calm but withholding, presenting a world that is uncannily fractured, but not entirely fragmented.”
April Warman, Times Literary Supplement, May 23rd 2008


“Claire Crowther’s poetry feels quiet and studied, with that curiously European sensibility, an understanding that poems can be deeply intimate, speaking as it were to one person only, yet broadly discursive and abstract at the same time. …

This is endlessly-shifting language which surprises, tricks the eye and invites rereading… Cryptic, disconnected, in love with enjambment, these poems readily suggest more than their surface meaning…

Crowther’s poetic vision examines the paradoxical qualities of endurance: the patience and mutability of the feminine versus the seeming durability of stone with its susceptibility to erosion… This collection is quietly ambitious, not showy, but Claire Crowther is a poet whose confident, highly sensuous explorations of language and gender deserve to be read and recognized.”
Jane Holland, Poetry Review, Summer 2007


“Reading this collection is like coming out into sunlight after spending too long indoors; the poems have the capacity to astonish. ..The language is peculiarly alive; the poems are set very much in this world, and they celebrate it….This is an ambitious and excellent first collection”
Cliff Yates, The North, 40, 2007


“…this Shearsman collection…I am excited to say, is stunning…This is a superb writer in whose poems nothing happened by chance. Each line is carefully paced; each word precise and measured. It’s a book to live with”
Helena Nelson, Magma, 38, 2007

© Claire Crowther 2024