Granny Scarecrow by Anne Stevenson
Anne Stevenson has always been a restless, questioning poet whose openness has ensured that each of her many collections has been distinctive and challenging. Granny Scarecrow is characteristically full of ideas, but as always, Stevenson approaches them by looking intently at small things and seemingly insignificant events. In creating a poetry of acute psychological insight, alert to all shades of meaning, she has managed to be incisive as well as entertaining, marrying critical rigour with personal feeling, and a sharp wit with an original brand of serious humour. Anne Stevenson was trained as a musician and came to poetry with her auditory imagination already developed. For over forty years she has been writing poetry primarily to be heard and overheard. Experimenting with sounds and verse forms has encouraged experiments with subject matter, and Granny Scarecrow is brimming with ideas that - plainly to the author's amusement - contradict each other. The title-poem starts out as a simple tale about two farm girls passing their granny's dress on a scarecrow, but it opens up into an elegy for the passing of a way of life. The book as a whole stresses that looking, not thinking, makes for a poetry of compassion and communication. What the poem says - and how it sounds - is inseparable from what it is.