The song was moist, filing away,
drifting while we drifted, something
in blackface, Al Jolson of birdland,
not quite right, prophesizing until hoarse
who knows what. The locals say he
draws poison from you, angatkuk,
shaman, though they don’t believe it.
Brian Swann was born in Tyneside, England. He received a BA and an MA from Queens’ College, Cambridge, as well as a PhD from Princeton University.
Swann is the author of several poetry collections, including St. Francis and the Flies (Autumn House Press, 2016), winner of the 2015 Autumn House Poetry Prize; Snow House (Pleiades Press, 2006), winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series Award; and Autumn Road (Ohio State University Press, 2005), winner of the OSU/The Journal Poetry Prize.
In the judge’s citation for the Autumn House Poetry Prize, Dorianne Laux writes, “These are poems of consciousness, subsumed in images of presence and memory, a sensibility constantly searching and intimate in its attention.”
He is also the author of several works of prose, including Dogs on the Roof (MadHat Press, 2016), and has edited several essay and poetry collections celebrating Native American literature.
Swann teaches at the Cooper Union and lives in New York City.
St. Francis and the Flies (Autumn House Press, 2016)
In Late Light (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013)
Snow House (Pleiades Press, 2006)
Autumn Road (Ohio State University Press, 2005)
Dogs on the Roof (MadHat Press, 2016)