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Sunday, 22 February 2009

Seaway Gets Seen

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My Seaway: New and Selected seems to have had its first review, at Various Artists, Tony Lewis-Jones' online review vehicle, which reaches interested readers and writers across the world. The review is by poet Tom Phillips. I quote some of it here, below:

"Gleaned from his four previous collections and garnished with more than a dozen new poems, Todd Swift’s Seaway is both a ‘greatest hits’ collection for those who’ve already read this verbally athletic Canadian-born poet at length and a comprehensive introduction for those on the European side of the Atlantic who have had, so far, only the occasional chance to get a taste of his work at the jostling, competitive buffet known as English language poetry. As such, it is long overdue.

[....]

Words matter throughout. That might sound like a very obvious thing to say about a poetry collection but then, when it comes down to it, few contemporary English language collections exhibit the combination of verbal precision and improvisation which Swift deploys in poems like the tour-de-force ‘One Hundred Lines’.

[....]

What counts in Swift’s case, then, is his fashioning of a particular, disjointed sense of ‘the world’ and its difficult relationship with wherever we might call home – home, at various times, being where we were born, where we happen to be living or where we might possibly die. How we exist in several different places at once and survive abstract relationships which nuance our day-to-day relationships with those different places is very much a part of Swift’s subject matter here, the ‘Seaway’ of the title coming to seem like a metaphor for the great architectural changes most of us have no say in determining. Curiously, for all their vertiginous imaginative leaps, reading these immaculately crafted poems and knowing that Swift is out there somewhere fashioning stray experiences into verse makes more of the world seem like home."
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