Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Short Season of Other Poets: Claire Crowther

Claire Crowther's imminent collection The Clockwork Gift from Shearsman Books


The schizoid boy who never takes his pills
and has been ordered not to visit any female
family member, here he comes, half-naked,
down to my basement. Later, a police dog bites
his scrotum. I buy chips and biscuits. Mutter
names. I take care of these grandchildren.
Like that unfed, sleepless child - the number
of games I thought up, but she's live, a grenade,
buried and ready to explode, dug up
decades after the war, lost in a sack
of potatoes. They come for my expertise.
It's worth their battering the door
to share my anger. Nonna, oma, nain.

Claire Crowther has worked as a consumer journalist, editor and communications director. She lives in the West Country and is currently poet in residence at Dorich House. Her collection Stretch of Closures (2006) was shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection prize.


Liz said...

Great title and details. Like the ending too...unusual. Enjoyed...cheers.


I love the sense of place in this poem; I can see the scene eventhough the narrator is kind of cryptic in the telling. I'm left wondering how much is literal - no bad thing.
I like the bitten scrotum (or maybe I should say it was a good surprise in the poem, rather than I like it!) and the ordinariness of 'I buy chips and biscuits', among all that angst and chaos. Great stuff.

Angela France said...

I really enjoy the off-key feel of this - I have 'Stretch of Closures' and this one is definitely going on my wish list.

Claire said...

Thanks for these comments and for reading the poem - and thanks for posting it, Jane. I've been writing poems about grandmothers for the last couple of years - they are overstereotyped and underrated in my opinion - and they do stranger and more useful things than we mostly realise...