"The poems that make up Brian Swann's rich and constantly rewarding book Snow House are muscular and masterful. He has a marvelous ear and the ability to write poems that move insistently forward to a lovely and offhand resolution. The long and sinuous sentences that make up this collection range over the natural world, memories, and myths—and, like ‘a kind of semiotic stuntman,' Swann merges these subjects with the poems ostensibly describing them, so that you suddenly realize that you are being pulled along by a song ‘that mirrors itself with you in the middle / doing much of the mirroring.' And yet in the end the world of the poems retains its fierce independence, the independence of ‘the world which could be you but isn't, ever, quite.'"—John Koethe, from his judge's citation
"Brian Swann is our poet of the primal present. . . . Snow House is a profound poetry that wakens us and helps us identify our sublime and perilous location."—William Heyen
The scraps, bright, all of them, these small birds, as if torn from the sun now bloody-mouthed, then a broken line moving closer, brant—no, blue geese, and in synapses all round swamp-sparrows, as blades of light push in till the last one takes over so masks drop from stones and on the headland windowpanes are morning swollen and a wave curves like gravel along the long bay where no hull moves so it all starts to look a little contrived, as if the boats had gone out to seas on cue, and hidden. Here you find yourself shattered at a thousand points, flashing like crabs, a leg here, a claw there, and eyes everywhere. —"Manitu Bay"
Brian Swann is the author of six previous poetry collections, including Autumn Road, winner of the Ohio State University Press / The Journal Award. He also has translated volumes of poetry and has published children's books, collections of short fiction, and works on Native American literature. He lives in New York City and is a professor of humanities at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
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