Clare Crossman 1954 – 2021

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Clare’s death. Clare — who was born on 17th November 1954 and died on 7th April 2021 — will be sorely missed by all who knew her and her work.

The Guardian’s Other Lives section published Clare’s obituary by her brother, David Crossman, and The Poetry Society published this tribute to Clare from her husband, Iain McPhee. And in this London Grip review of The Mulberry Tree (Shoestring Press, 2021), Mat Riches takes a thoughtful look at Clare’s final collection: it’s tempting to read it as a book of looking back, of setting memories in order, and … it certainly succeeds. It travels across time and memory, achieving what the last lines of the epistolatory poem, ‘Two Letters’, describes as

Part of us folded between the pages,
like calligraphy as we talked
across distances in a slow hand.”

Clare’s headstone — which is placed in the St Thomas a Becket church graveyard in Kirkhouse, the parish church for Farlam near Brampton — includes an extract from ‘Crossings’, one of her poems. You can find the full text of ‘Crossings’, together with a recording of Clare reading it, on the new Poem Readings page on this site. We will be adding more readings.

Not only her poetry and other books but her work with writing groups and on many projects, such as the Waterlight Project in Cambridgeshire and the River Gelt Project in Cumbria, all demonstrate Clare’s deep engagement with people and with the living world, and offer a lasting legacy and much to celebrate. You will find much of Clare’s work and character represented here on her site, including poems that she selected especially for this site, and the welcome page where she introduced herself and her work.

Before her illness, Clare had completed the manuscript for her new book of poems, The Mulberry Tree, which has since been published by Shoestring Press.