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Want my job?

While back in St-Lambert, Canada, I stumbled across a forgotten old cardboard box of my papers containing over 500 poems, some handwritten, but 200-300 typed, in various stages of completion (many had gone through as many as six or eight drafts), mainly dating from the years 1980-87 (that is, between the ages of 13 and 21) - thrilling juvenalia because most of this writing I had forgotten existed - and in a few instances the use of syntax and diction was interestingly reminiscent of Forties poetry I'm currently studying.

This box of poems reminded me of how long and anonymous the poet's journey often is, from young person who loves poetry, to the poet of mid-career, and beyond. There's an article on me in today's Independent newspaper, out of the UK, about the "job" of the poet.

Below is the first poem I wrote - at least bothered to type - composed in 1980.


They dripped in unison,
drip, drop, drip
like stalactites they were -
but small, and clear,
except where tiny flecks of soot
marred their perfect beauty.

And then suddenly,
he wanted to crush one,
to feel it snap like a twig,
in his hand, cool and inviting
but he didn't
because they dripped in unison.

poem by Todd Swift (1980)

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Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!