Songs of Seeing
Marnie Reed Crowell is a biologist, natural history writer, and artist, poet, teacher and small press publisher. While ice skating in 1999 she sustained a traumatic brain injury in a fall. Emerging from her coma, she found that she was unable to write, draw, or even make sense of printed words. Recovery was slow. Although her small motor skills have never quite recovered, Marnie found her way back to art and poetry by starting with very simple images and words, gradually increasing their complexity.
(Face painting is a surimono of sorts, right? )
Marnie believes that others who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury, cancer's "chemo brain", PTSD, Post Lyme "fog" and the like could perhaps find their way back by utilizing the pictured vignettes in stages from Songs 1 (very simple) to Songs 6 (complex) at their own pace.
Marnie majored in biology, cum laude, at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, received the M.S. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, and married ecologist Dr. Kenneth L. Crowell in 1962. She has always been a teacher in and out of the classroom. Her career spans teaching in high school, in a one room school, Empire State College on line, St. Lawrence University January Interterm courses, SLU’s Fiction International programs, and workshops at Ogdensburg Correctional Facility.
Crowell’s first book, Greener Pastures (Funk & Wagnalls 1973), described life on their Canton, New York farm. Great Blue, Odyssey of a Great Blue Heron (Times Books, 1979) described the migration of a great blue heron to the Caribbean. Her other books include Flycasting for Everyone, and a number of Threehalf Press poetry collaborations. A Sky of Birds, Downeast images (Threehalf Press, 2011) was produced for the Downeast Chapter of Audubon, with bird photographs by chapter members accompanying Crowell’s bird poems. Her poems appear in More Poems from Maine, TAKE HEART, Selected by Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair (DownEast Books 2016.
With fisherman and scallop farmer Marsden Brewer in 2020 Marnie created a cookbook, Recipe Ideasfor Farmed Sea Scallops-The Whole Story.
Look for her book The Heron Witch, from Green Writers Press in Fall of 2023.
For years Marnie wrote natural history columns for local newspapers. Her many articles appear in newspapers and magazines, such as Redbook, Readers Digest, Natural History, DownEast, and Island Institute’s The Working Waterfront.
Artist who practices meditating, Hospice volunteer and active conservationist, Marnie was called upon to practice what she preached about nature and art and healing after her moonlit ice skating accident in 1999 left her with a Traumatic Brain Injury. When her recovery was well underway she wrote many poems that she wanted to publish with photographs of the area’s wild places.
Photographer and clinical psychologist Dr. Ann Flewelling contacted Crowell about the meditation classes Marnie was offering. The two subsequently formed Threehalf Press, dedicated to using new media to produce art that speaks for the environment. Island Meditation (Threehalf Press 2011), originally crafted for the local medical center and adult continuing education program, surveys world-wide meditation techniques including those from Crowells' trips to China.
Marnie’s works have appealed to a wide audience. Her paintings have been shown in various museums and her poems are now part of a poetry walk in a park in San Jose, California and read on Public Radio. She now has a wonderful supply of photographs and paintings which she enjoys combining or manipulating with ever-evolving apps.
A collection of Marnie's poems is now available from Island Heritage Trust. This 328 page book of nature-based poems, photographs, and essays is not available for sale or in book stores. It is a donor appreciation gift designed to help allay the expenses of stewarding the protected natural areas of Deer Isle, Maine. To order and make your gift,
Learn more about Marnie in this interview: http://www.gulfofmaine.org/times/winter2008/reed.ph