Skip to main content

Another Review

Warning: this post is about Todd Swift's recent collection, Mainstream Love Hotel. It is a self-serving notice of a very positive review in the April/May 2010 issue of London Magazine, by Leah Fritz. It is being posted in order to interest readers in the collection, in the hopes that some might seek out the book, to read it, even buy it.

If this act is suspect, or even considered downright bad, consider the following: what are poets doing when they a) read their books at launches and book signings; publish their poems? What are publishers doing when they a) send books for review; market books; sell books in shops and online; enter books in competitions? The motives of authors and publishers are complex, and cannot all be boiled down to the purely virtuous act of distributing literary material freely, for the sake of education, enlightenment and entertainment.

Poets, and publishers, both want a) their books to be read; and b) their books to be borrowed or sold. This may be insane or misguided, because a) what does it matter if another person other than you (the author) reads your work and b) how much money can you really possibly make from selling poetry to the masses? Do poets seek to have their poems achieve influence, or become loved and memorised? Do poets want their books to be in print or out of print or never published?

Anyway, this particular London Magazine review is quite good. I was pleased with it, because I admire Leah Fritz, as a poet, person, and thinker. She starts the review by saying her old friend, now deceased, John Heath-Stubbs, liked when she read him my poems out loud (he was blind by this stage). She calls my New and Selected a "poetic find". She observes of MLH that: "at the core of his poetry, however, is conjugal love. Very rare, this kind of romanticism; very honest and elegant in its portrayal."

Fritz also discussed my debt to psychoanalysis, my interest in film, and the poetry's "typically fine, craftily compressed lines."She writes (about a poem that refers to "kind kitchen-sink abortionists") - "outrageous at times and sometimes very angry at the world's injustices, his poetry is often sweet, though never saccharine" - and concludes that "Todd Swift's postmodernism artfully bridges the past and present millennia."

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


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!