The Myrrh-Bearers is a book of love poems, describing real events and real people as the poet has experienced them. The worlds evoked in these poems are suffused with faerie tales, myth and philosophy. The genesis of this collection lies in a diverse engagement with different poetries: the influence of the Polish poets Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz is discernible, along with that of the French poets Henri Michaux, René Char, René Daumal and Alfred Jarry; there is also the sure presence of Gwen Harwood and Judith Wright as well as, more esoterically, William Blake and G. I. Gurdjieff. The pataphysical influence of Jarry, in particular, leads to a poetry which attempts to describe a universe supplementary to the one which we inhabit. The presence of music as a subject stems from the poet’s close engagement with her musical mentors, Larry Sitsky in Australia, Emmanuel Nunes in France and Karlheinz Stockhausen in Germany. This is a rich and unusual collection which will reward readers interested in the way poetry can suggest new ways of looking at the world.
“Crispin is a conservatorium-trained composer who has completed postdoctoral work in Paris and Berlin. This goes some way to explaining the beautifully paced music of her lines, and the prominence of wintry German landscapes. The way the classic and contemporary intersect with the transcendent in these sharp and elegant poems invites a reader to return to them often, and with profit.”
AIDAN COLEMAN, The Australian
“These poems, ostensibly love poems hidden inside elegies, tell stories of deep longing, carrying a sense of vertiginous presence coupled with the inevitable grief of disconnection from that presence. Crispin’s task here seems to be to reconcile grief with understanding in an effort to resurrect – if momentarily – those loved and lost.”
IVY IRELAND, Cordite