|Young Man In St Lambert|
Stanley Todd Swift was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Good Friday, 1966. He grew up in St-Lambert, where he attended Chambly County High School. His father, Thomas Edward Swift (d.2006), was a rock and roll recording artist, then Director of Admissions for Sir George Williams, later Concordia University. He has one brother, Jordan, ex-bassist with Canadian ska-band The Kingpins, now a teacher. His grandfather, Ian Hume (d.2006) was one of Canada's best known athletics figures and was Head Official for the Montreal Olympics Track & Field events, in 1976. His uncle John A.A. Swift (d. 2008) was a Montreal lawyer and flamboyant eccentric. He is related to Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, the last man to be beheaded in the Tower of London, in 1747.
Swift is one of the most successful Canadian college debaters of all time. He was a champion debater in high school, at Marianopolis CEGEP and then Concordia University, where we was elected President of CUSID, the national body of student intercollegiate debating, and where he designed the judging ballot used nationally. He won the Top Speaker prize two years in a row at the prestigious McGill Winter Carnival Debating Tournament, and won Top Team at Toronto's Hart House tournament, with Gordan H. Buchan. He was Second Place Speaker at the Canadian Nationals, and placed 9th at the McGill Worlds with team-mate James Champagne.
In 1987, while on a debating tour, Swift visited Belfast to research his first anthology, Map-Maker's Colours: New Poets of Northern Ireland (1988), co-edited with Martin Mooney. In 1988 he founded the New McGill Reading Series with poet William Furey. In 1990 he joined The League of Canadian Poets, and was twice elected its Quebec representative. His poetry series Vox Hunt ran from 1995-1997, and was called "Brechtian. Virtually unique in North America" by The Globe and Mail. In his twenties, Swift was a succesful professional screenwriter (WGC member). He has written over 100 hours of TV for Hanna-Barbera, Cinar, HBO, Fox, CBC and Paramount, among others, often with Thor Bishopric or Stanley Whyte. He was a story editor for Sailor Moon. He received a Young Quebecer of the Year award (Arts and Education category) in 1997 in recognition of his achievements. He was shortlisted more than half a dozen times for the Irving Layton Poetry Prize. In 1997, Swift moved to Budapest. In Hungary he was Visiting Lecturer at Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), 1998-2001. In 2001 he moved to Paris. In 2003, he moved to London, England.
|Todd Swift in a Christmas jumper, December 2013|
Swift's poetry ranges across a variety of themes and styles, but core concerns reoccur: childhood traumas, cinema, faith, Freudian analysis, love, marriage, travel, violence, stylishness, death and sexual desire. His goal is to combine the confessionalism of the Alvarez era with the modernist panache of the Forties poets he admires such as Nicholas Moore, FT Prince, and Joan Murray.
|Todd Swift, summer 2011, photo by Derek Adams|
In 2003, Swift edited the chapbook series (In English, French, German and Brazilian versions) 100 Poets Against The War. He was one of the special guest poets at the Frankfurt Book Fair's International Poetry Evening in 2003. Swift was poetry editor of award-winning online magazine Nthposition from 2003 to 2008, and a contributing editor of Matrix, Quebec's longest running English-language literary magazine. He is now a contributing editor for The Battersea Review.
Swift's poetry has appeared in many anthologies, including Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets (Persea Books, New York, 2005), The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry (Véhicule, Montreal, 2005), as well as twice in The Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope, 2008 & 2012). He was Oxfam Great Britain's Poet-in-residence in 2004, and has since edited several poetry CDs and a DVD for them. He ran the Oxfam Poetry Series from 2004-2011. He has reviewed for Books In Canada, The Dubliner, The Globe and Mail, LRC, Magma, Poetry London, Poetry, and Poetry Review. He is a tutor with the Poetry School. His PhD, from the University of East Anglia, is in Creative and Critical Writing, and is concerned with poetic style in th British poets of the 1940s.
|Todd Swift On Hydra, Villa Melina, June 8, 2010. Photo by Sara Swift|
This bio updated June 2014