|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.
|Todd Swift, PhD graduation ceremony, UEA, July 2012|
Swift's poetry has been collected in eight full collections: Budavox (1999), Café Alibi (2002), Rue du Regard (2004), Winter Tennis (2007), Seaway: New and Selected Poems (2008), Mainstream Love Hotel (2009) and England Is Mine (2011), and many pamphlets and e-books, such as The Cone of Silence, End of the Century, French Maid, American Standard and Elegy for Anthony Perkins. His 8th collection, out 2012 from Tightrope Books, Toronto, is concerned with the poet's exploration of male infertility and the wider themes of despair and recovery in relation to creativity.
Swift's poetry ranges across a variety of themes and styles, but core concerns reoccur: childhood traumas, cinema, faith, Freudian analysis, queerness (he is bisexual), love, marriage, travel, nostalgia, violence, stylishness, flamboyance, death and desire. His goal is to combine the confessionalism of the Alvarez era with the modernist panache of the Forties poets he admires such as Terence Tiller, Nicholas Moore, FT Prince, and Joan Murray.
|Todd Swift, summer 2011, photo by Derek Adams|
His poems have been published internationally, in places such as: Agenda, The Daily Telegraph, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, Jacket, Poetry, Poetry London, Poetry Review, Prism International, The SHOp, and Stand. The Chronicle of Higher Education has compared his work to "that of Ezra Pound's in the 10s and 20s of the last century, in Paris and London". Swift's poetry has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBC, and RTE radio (The Enchanted Way and The Poetry Program). In 2002 he released a CD on the Wired On Words label, with composer Tom Walsh, titled The Envelope, Please.
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.
|Todd Swift in his garden, summer 2010|
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 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 the often-maligned British poets of the 1940s.
|Todd Swift On Hydra, Villa Melina, June 8, 2010. Photo by Sara Swift|
This bio updated on October 17, 2013