SKATING OUT OF THE HOUSE
Poems by Anna Crowe
Anna Crowe was born in Devonport, Plymouth, and educated in France and at St. Andrews where she has worked in a second-hand bookshop and as a translator and interpreter. Her poems have appeared in such leading magazines as The Honest Ulsterman, Lines Review, London Magazine, New Writing Scotland, Smiths Knoll, Stand and Writing Women. In 1986 she was a runner-up in the National Poetry Competition. She won first prize in the Peterloo Open Poetry Competition in 1993 and again in 1997.
Skating Out of the House is an assured, wide-ranging and linguistically exciting first volume containing both rhymed and unrhymed poems. There is a sonnet sequence, several outstanding poems derived from paintings, translations from the French of Paul Eluard, and several astonishingly perceptive poems about the adult-child relationships that will touch a common chord in the hearts of most readers.
Was stuff you wore
Carelessly, like clothes.
Not bothering whether it snagged or tore
Or ran, bloodily, to holes. Yours was the
Hands-on approach to life, as though
This sense alone out of the five could tell you
What it was all about. Edges
Were your speciality. The sea-wall,
On a clear day, you could be trusted to
Trot doggedly over. Meetings with steps,
Rocks, kerbs, earth in all its guises,
Unzipped your knees and finger-tips.
Scars along your hair-line notched
A wish to know your subject from the inside.
Weekends, you were a casual visitor
To casualty. Stoical, unsurprised.
It was the other stuff, the nub, the nitty-
Gritty, slipped through your fingers.
Somewhere inside your skin, too
Adolescent-thin for comfort, you
Hid out. You longed to swap it for something cosy,
The furry kind, keeping dormouse-hours
With gerbils. Stroking, stroking their tender plush.
Life on the World Service, sailing by.
Your shaved head shouted how tough
You hoped you were. I prayed the really tough
Would somehow miss its pink and shining
Vulnerability. Weekends, helping the vets,
You watched them cut through fur
To the moist throbbings. This summer, when
You let the camping-primus lick your face,
Its breath melted your ears, your T-shirt
Months later, skin
Re-maps itself. Dear awkward one,
I hope this time it fits, though not
So thick, or you so far inside
That you can’t hear me say that some things -
You were right – will always mend.
SKATING OUT OF THE HOUSE
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover Illustration: drawing by Fridtjog Nansen (1861-1930), Norwegian explorer, Scientist, humanitarian and rector of St. Andrews University from 1925 to 1928. From his book In Northern Mists, London, 1911. (Courtesy of the Library, University of St. Andrews).
Publication: SUMMER 1997 (85 pages laminated paperback)