Claire Crowther’s Mollicle

Claire Crowther by Tony Frazer

Claire Crowther’s two collections, Stretch of Closures (Shearsman, 2007) and The Clockwork Gift (Shearsman, 2009), have been received with wide acclaim. Stretch of Closures was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize in 2007. Her work is published widely in such journals as the London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, New Welsh Review, PN Review, Warwick Review, and online in Horizon, Qualm and many others. Her pamphlet, Mollicle, is published by Nine Arches Press. She has an MPhil (Glamorgan) and a PhD (Kingston) both in Creative Writing. She was born and grew up in Hobs Moat near Solihull.
What some reviewers have said:
“While her poems can be crystal-clear, more often they are riddling, veering, mysterious; deadly serious or quietly funny.”
– Richard Price, Times Literary Supplement, 16 October 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
” … such inventiveness and confidence that the reader cannot help but be uplifted, carried away with the energy of the work. Claire Crowther is a poet in love with sound and movement, in short, with the cadence of life itself.”
– Helen Mort, Poetry London, Summer 2009


Mollicle by Claire Crowther is zesty, mysterious and mischievous. Curiosity and surprise come from a chorus of diverging and merging voices; mothers, daughters, ‘Alices’ and others, the ordinary world turned kaleidoscopic and rearranged in Crowther’s distinct and elegant fashion. These poems are not without their glinting sharp edges either, which emerge without warning and ask of us whether we wish to leap or look down first.
Praise for Mollicle:
“Claire Crowther’s work is wittily compelling, a complex music. Poems by Crowther are events. With equal power, Mollicle reflects the outer world and the mind’s life, intensely illuminated.
          day and night, repay your loan:
          shine with sun’s compulsive light.”
– Alison Brackenbury
“Claire Crowther’s poems employ what seems to be a singular form of logic – each one is like a mirror she has handed you in which you see something familiar, yet in a way you hadn’t managed to see before.”
– Roddy Lumsden
Woman in the Canon
Heads are floating at every level of the staircase,
marble, bronze, sometimes with a shaven shoulder.
Carry on up your long bud-sprout stalk
of a kale runt torch: a cabbage head lit
by a candle on top, its thick packed leaves
hard-veined as winter. Your arms are out
at the elbows in this stairwell crowded with murals
of mythic action – what does it matter who
landed the boat or fought off the invaders?
Hold up your cabbage head uncooked, uneaten,
a simple candelabra to the canon.
This multi-storey atom of the arts
hosts men on every floor but, inbetween
and going down, I give off light.
This poem first appeared in Shearsman.

Order Mollicle (Nine Arches Press, 2010).
Order Stretch of Closures (Shearsman, 2007).
Order The Clockwork Gift (Shearsman, 2009).
Visit Claire’s website.
Listen to Claire reading her poems on Poetcasting.
Read more of Claire’s poems at poetry p f.

1 thought on “Claire Crowther’s Mollicle

  1. Stephen Wainman

    Just started reading this outstanding new short poetry collection: I’m very struck with these poems. In particular, Woman in the Canon, and Mollicle are very strong. Beautifully written, this is moving and thought provoking writing.

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