Anna Crowe

We feature work by poet Anna Crowe to mark National Poetry Day 2011.

Cover of book 'Figure in a Landscape'
Cover design by Andreu Maimó.

Anna Crowe was born in Plymouth, spent part of her childhood in France and currently lives and works in St Andrews. She studied French and Spanish at St Andrews University. In addition to writing poetry she is a translator and creative writing tutor.

Anna was involved in the establishment of Stanza, Scotland's poetry festival, where she was Artistic Director for seven years.

These two poems are taken from 'Figure in a landscape', published by Mariscat Press. This poetry pamphlet was the winner of the 2011 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award.

'Figure in a landscape' was written by Anna in memory of her sister and is a meditation on 'Paisatge amb figueres' ('Landscape with fig trees'), the work of sculptor Andreu Maimó.

Anna says: 'The place-names are the names of Maimó’s ceramics and paintings, and of farms on the island of Mallorca, where my sister lived for some years after leaving Madrid. I first came across Maimó's work in a catalogue a few months after my sister's death. Even on the page, his life-size ceramic evocations of fig trees have tremendous presence. I had always planned to give my sister a fig tree, but between my ordering it from the nursery and its arrival in Pollença she died.'


Fig tree at Sa Clota

Perhaps you were too small
to remember her, our mother's
cleaning-woman in Hornsea?
How did she wring out a cloth
manage a broom, the hoover?
I can still see that fist
A knot of flesh and bone
the industrial machine
had sewn so well
even the surgeons
wouldn't unpick it
Dense as a clot
No fingers left
A stump
with only
the memory
of branches dancing



Fig tree at Son Mesquida

just look at you
trying to do
ten things at once
twisting your branches
so as to hold on
juggling three
jobs almost dropping
your filofax your body
strained wrenched
denying it
determined to do it
all carry on
smiling and
weeping all at once


National Poetry Day 2011

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