Poetry Hallway - Introducing Celebrated Fenland Poet, Croyland Otter
|Copyright © 1997 Fenland Citizen|
"...and the silt was a little gritty to start with. I tried chewing it and it simply made a terrible squeaking sound, which made the headmaster even angrier. Sensing that he might think of a less-squeaky punishment - like gravel - I simply swallowed it whole. And ever since then, I've been a poetry genius, and I've recited my god-like verse at every local Summer fete since."
Croyland was at the centre of controversy when he physically attacked local author Polly Howat during a live tweeting event at Wisbech Library in 2010. Howat was reciting her latest book Malevolent Ghost Prostitutes Of Crab Marsh in tweet form when Croyland accused her of plagiarising sections of his own book, Grumpy Spectral Seducers Of The Smeeth, which he'd self-published several months earlier. He alleged that the two had met at a speed-dating evening earlier on in the year, and that he had divulged details of some of his projects in return for a follow-up date which never took place.
In the aftermath, Croyland's popularity waned and Howat took him to court. In an effort to raise the funds needed to pay his legal fees, Croyland opened up his home to the public, charging £40 a head to show people around his 2-bedroom bungalow. Howat allegedly dropped the charges after disguising herself as a Canadian tourist and stumping up the entry fee to snoop around Croyland's home. Howat cites her visit as the inspiration for her local history book, 'Fen Slums' and, although Croyland is never directly referenced, it generated enough interest in his previous works for him to once again concentrate on his literary endeavours.
An introduction would be incomplete without an exclusive poem with which to launch Croyland's tenure with Poetry Hallway. After an intensive writing weekend, Otter submitted several dozen rhymes for consideration, and this was, by a parsec, the best.
A Love Affair With Brown
Fenland silt, I love your grain,
The way its colour is just the same
As all the browns which are, in name,
Reminiscent of back-door shame.
Next up: Johnny C on trust.