Skip to main content

10 Years Of Todd

Yes, it is that time - the 10th anniversary of Todd Swift (editor of Eyewear the blog and the publishers) arriving in London, England.  He's been living among you ever since, as a permanent, landed immigrant, on his way to citizenship.  Ten years is a mighty long time, and it started with the 2003 anti-war campaign via Nthposition, 100 Poets Against The War, that resulted in the fastest-ever global anthology, from Salt, as covered on CNN.  Sadly, the war went ahead.

Next, as poetry editor of Nthposition, the infamous weird online magazine for most of the past decade, he published around a thousand poets; he completed an MA and PhD at UEA; was Oxfam poet-in-residence in 2004 via Arts Council funding; hosted hundreds of poets at the Oxfam reading series; put out three CDs and a DVD of poets reading for Oxfam, and also the recent anthology from Cinnamon/Eyewear, Lung Jazz.  Edited numerous books, and finally published a UK book, from Tall-Lighthouse, in 2009, after an Irish New and Selected in 2008.  In 2012, his poetry was gathered by the prestigious Poetry Archive.  Meanwhile, he was mentoring, and workshop-leading with, dozens of rising and emerging poets of brilliance, including Emily Berry, Helen Mort, Phil Brown, and Liz Berry.  During this decade, poems of his have appeared in The Saturday Guardian, Poetry Review, Poetry London, Magma, and many others.

He has taught literary theory and creative writing at London Met, Birkbeck, and since 2006, the Kingston Writing School, Kingston University.  Oh, and he has remained a gadfly and cheerleader, for British poetry, urging greater openness, but never taking a side for kneejerk reasons: lyrical disruption, or rhyming couplet, or slam poem, what matters is that the poem in question is doing the best it can, under its own set terms; see his reviews in Poetry London and Poetry Review, and blog posts, say for Best American Poetry, for more on this.


Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.