Kevin Crossley-Holland

Poet, author for children and translator...



'Round and round the trampled
ground between the flaming
maple and the black walnut,
and out across the nickel rink
to the winter warming-hut,
round, round with bounds and
yells, skips and little rushes
you chased October leaves.

Curtsy, shout, leap and spin,
your pale face thin and hair
haywire, the best red-gold:
so you became the leaves
you caught. And watching you
I think I thought there's
some movement, some pursuit
best expressing each of us'

Kevin Crossley-Holland has written eight collections of poetry, and his new and selected poems, The Mountains of Norfolk was published by Enitharmon Press in early summer 2011 and won the EDP/Jarrold's East Anglian Book Awards Prize for Poetry in 2012.

Written over almost forty years, his poems are notable for their perceptive and warm record of relationships, especially that of father and child; their powerful response to the landscape of Norfolk and Suffolk; and their awareness of historical and cultural continuities and dislocation. Sensuous, spare and forceful, many of his poems are also concerned with spiritual dimensions.

Moored Man

In 2006, Kevin published Moored Man:A Cycle of North Norfolk Poems with watercolours and etchings by the Royal Academician, Norman Ackroyd. These poems revolve around the mythical being who embodies the wilderness and warring elements of the north Norfolk saltmarshes.

Ronald Blythe writes:

What enthralls us when we arrive at the coast is neither land nor sea but that narrow flux of both of them called the shore. It is the shore which does most of the talking, which utters, which we listen to. At first it seems to say the same things over and over again, and is mesmeric. Then it becomes both soothing and threatening, musical and dissonant, inspiring and wretched, easy to understand and complex as it articulates things which cannot be heard in any other place. Moored Man interprets this watery voice in a wonderful manner. In a sequence of wild, desperate, beautiful and original statements the seashore tells how it can never get away, how it has struggled in its liquid chains, and how it is both captive and yet free. Moored Man may be tied to the edge but he is never stationary. He is all movement. He may be mud-dull but yet he is a marvellous orator. Although below the rocks, he is a visionary. This is a fine poem. There is a tragic loneliness in it reminiscent of that in Ted Hughes’s Crow. Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Moored Man is the voice of that ultimate geography which separates land from water. He has listened to what it says for the best part of his life and is able to give us this exciting translation.
New and Selected Poems

His poems give off as authentic a smell of East Anglia as do Crabbe’s, and, as with Crabbe’s, the beauty of language is hard-won.

Peter Porter (Observer)

Crossley-Holland uncovers not only words but an entire landscape which haunts and is rich in echoes’

Helen Dunmore (Observer)

These are poems to taste with the tongue and eye of the mind.

Herbert Lomas (Ambit)

Kevin is the editor of The Oxford Book of Travel Verse. With Lawrence Sail, he edited The New Exeter Book of Riddles and the anthology of Christmas card poems, Light Unlocked.

He is the co-founder and sometime chairman of the annual festival of Poetry-next-the-Sea. .

Light Unlocked