Fearless and insightful poems that illuminate one woman’s experience of chronic illness, relationships and gender identity, and solitude.
Anna Swanson’s poetry leads you through a life that tries to deal with a misunderstood illness, a gradual acceptance of one’s sexuality, and a sometimes onerous relationship with nature. Her writing is as honest as it is complex, and it attempts to reconcile an identity that has been distorted by illness through a profound analysis of memory and individual meaning. With poems that run the gamut from fearful to the absurd, that are at once deep and pithy, Anna Swanson proves in The Nights Also that she is a brave new voice in Canadian poetry.
Anna Swanson studied creative writing at the University of Victoria and the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her poetry has appeared in PRISM International, The Antigonish Review, The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008, and numerous other literary journals. She has paid the rent by planning festivals, selling books, serving drinks, making maps, walking on stilts, bowling with teenagers, writing press releases, and watching for forest fires. She now lives in St John’s NL and works as a librarian.
Praise for The Nights Also
“There are the nights, yes, but in this startling debut collection ‘each day is a / thin steel catwalk of light’ and ‘the sun makes its arc across the mouth’ . . . Each word and image is freshly forged. The poems are smart, original, and daring, the footwork so assured that Anna Swanson dances with the future with no missteps. This is a strong new voice that reaffirms my faith in the heartbeat and vision that poetry can give us.”—Lorna Crozier
“As meditations on illness, these are extraordinary—sad, undermining, and, sometimes, spiked with a sense of humour.”—Tim Lilburn
“‘Oh dear body,’ Anna Swanson writes in her impressive debut collection, ‘How did we get here?’ How indeed? Throughout The Nights Also, Swanson asks: What does it mean to be frail and human. What is illness? Health? Gender? Memory? Love? And though Swanson doesn’t (thank God) arrive at any definitive answers, her skill and delight in exploring life’s mysteries and complexities are palpable. These poems—intelligent, passionate, and beautifully executed—announce the arrival of a gifted poet, one I hope we’ll be hearing from for years to come.’—Patricia Young
“Swanson’s narratives are sympathetic and her gestures towards self-advocacy are inspiring. Her speaker is highly personable, with straight-forward language. Having executed the realm of the autobiographically-oriented first collection with panache, I am eager to see what she will take up in subsequent work.”—Angela Hibbs, Broken Pencil
“Swanson’s style and voice are light, inviting, and warm, comfortably drawing the reader in to this nervous, unsettling world.” Heather Holditch, Toronto Word on the Street