caroline crew

Caroline Crew

Describe yourself as a poet in three words: lady fragment undone

What is your chief misery as a poet? too many birds and not enough language

What you appreciate the most in a poem: a swerve I don’t see coming

If not a poet, what would you be? geologist, chef or lawyer

Who is your poetry hero and why? Historically, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning– a hero so much I wrote my first book with her by re-writing Sonnets from the Portuguese. Contemporaneously, Alexis Pope, Morgan Parker and Carrie Lorig, for starters. There are some many amazing female poets right now trying to navigate being alive and they are heroes every day.

What is your idea of happiness? 

What is your present state of mind? Winter is melting, emergence from constantly being tired, craft clue marred nails, returning “home” and hunger.

Your favorite poem, ever: I don’t think I have one favourite poem, but Louise Glück’s “Mock Orange” always comes back to remind me it changed me:

Read Caroline’s poem “Plastic Sonnet #38″ at The Adroit Journal

There is a history of naming hurricanes after saints. If you want yours
I recommend avoiding martyrs and consider only reference books
that have been burned. Your history of hurricanes is honestly disappointing: they keep
dying at sea. There’s a history of almost anything as long as you make a God to watch it
and also some zealots to take notes.
—  Caroline Crew, “Dear F.M.,” published in Banango Street
These are the times when it’s hardest, in Caroline’s words, not to have a hometown. I know that the riots have nothing to do with politics. I know that too well that my place has its share of hateful people, who will take whatever opportunity they can to break it. But even knowing that, I want to be among my people. The Yes campaign’s loss has been heartbreaking for many of them, and I can only hope that the disappointment will make them kinder. That the unionists will be graceful in victory, that Scotland will remain, in some ways, the home I left. It may not be the land of blooming heather and shining river that the songs describe. It may, in many ways, be already broken. But what’s broken can be fixed, and the prodigal can always return. Scotland is not the land I lost, though things I have lost do inhabit it. I told Tyler when he left that a goodbye can be an ellipsis.

Wild Are The Winds To Meet You by Chris Emslie.

Chris’s Caroline is also my Caroline and it was such a delightful surprise to read about this amazing human (in this amazing essay) in my Rumpus Feedly.

–Caroline Crew

I was the future
when you were born

eating popsicles
before I knew they were
an accident invented

you should know better
than to follow my favorite slow
burn girls back to the summer

future accident invented
a better season for you

you should know better
than to burn your skin
without a pattern

that we measure fire
by heat alone
is a great disservice
to display


by Caroline Belle Stewart

from “UMass ULearn” by Jono Tosch

[Author’s note: This is a found story, constructed from voice-to-text Siri mistranslations of MFA gossip my first semester at UMass.]

Let’s talk about a blessed evening this evening if after I wake up Warhurst is popping drunk. Pemeria what’s the plan at the party? Ha ha what the Suttons eat: Something to eat, something. Can you stop drinking? If you might still be drunk I’ll visit. I just hope everyone on a diet at 5 o’clock dinner-theater eats.

Just thinking, for you have nothing else to do. Do you like the theater? Do you have time to actually bring your brain? You might want to go, you might appreciate this kind of pop cultural late-lingual atmosphere. Lutomma loved it, all the diamonds. They can watch, incinerating a sandwich. Shakley can feel lonely.

Let’s talk about how much we miss that/him, wishing that we could hang out with Shakley. Please forgive me, he’s the one, the custodian at the gym. Such an island. A close-knit people. Atavistic years, face painting. We were there together. I’m older.

Lutomma, who are you? How was Salter? What about the novel? Warhurst does like anybody that finishes. Is it hard to retain information to the enemy? He is a musician and he’s been toying with you.

Listen Shakley, listen baby. I was thinking of you in the Gainesville Minery. You like Captain Stormalong. Look up! What are you craving? Going to visit this weekend? Staying over? Music? Would be interesting.

I, limping too seriously about it, just say: I don’t remember. You’re real drunk. And she went oh no: I, super drunk! Yes you are, but denoting goodness?

Lately, you’re too pretty for you. You, the name for him. Let’s evening with them. Just, with the curtains on the door. Just let Lovinger fuck me instead, preferably in the face of you.

Lollipop, Lollipop, I don’t understand. If I have just the stuff then you close the reciprocals. I think, so I see. Sparseness, incidentals. I do like him, it’s hurtful. I like to collect experience. I’m going to get my feelings right. I’m just very dark, really dark.

Making a drink!

Jonathan*s bit of influence. Every time I try to he is missing, always.

3. Losing the egg

                             A smaller part of me came straight

into the world: no veil, just slickly naked,

with nothing to be unwrapped or tended.

Have I forgotten how to care

for my own fruit? Did this womb

become acidic? Have I sinned

before sin has been spelt out?

The others, each season

were moon-gifted, bright orbs

to be meditated. They brewed

before breaking. But this one

comes wild, nothing holds him

inside. Nothing holds him

and he runs and runs.

Caroline Crew

Plastic Sonnet 14

It’s almost lunch.
Today has released
things into themselves:
ash water, milk curdle, thrum.

This is the finite kingdom
your heart has made—

a creature might forget
to weep in such florid weather.

Yet I dispraise this darkness
you busted, my civil tongue
knotted in a waiting decade.

In line we wait with the trick
in mind. Cascade light—
talk esteem, say everyone
around you is a one true love
& then ten & then on.


Plastic Sonnet 15

we two look two ways
looking for bees
to find another cavity
this is a major flaw

I look on
the whole thing
from the sidelines
the soul that flies
away from the body

I look weird because
I started to fail
as you would look
if wearing satin
to a river

please do not blame me
please do not
accuse me of wearing
the same sunlight

shut me safe
& most divine
in this the outside air


Plastic Sonnet 16

Architect of my hot sugar
do not make me for the high rise
build big & low on this bloody earth

I shake down alone
you can keep your classic
high all night

what do I care for stature
so saturated in this mud
my sweet home water

why conquer a horizon
when there is flex in lifting
upward as in crushing low

do not forget the basement
fielding this purple this red & tight
heart where records are lost


Plastic Sonnet 17

strike up & strike
the general direction
while I’m at either
there are sad songs
you should choose better
it is only that idiot god
that gets you haphazard
which is to say you make
my screen heavy reading
you can click to occupy
the public places
never spit on my pity
documents & I will keep
you as fine memory foam
in a tomb that is half dust
& all electricity cave
come on darling
be used