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THE SWIFT REPORT 2023

I am writing this post without much enthusiasm, but with a sense of duty. This blog will be 20 years old soon, and though I rarely post here anymore, I owe it some attention. Of course in 2023, "Swift" now means one thing only, Taylor Swift, the billionaire musician. Gone are the days when I was asked if I was related to Jonathan Swift. The pre-eminent cultural Swift is now alive and TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR. There is no point in belabouring the obvious with delay: 2023 was a low-point in the low annals of human history - war, invasion, murder, in too many nations. Hate, division, the collapse of what truth is, exacerbated by advances in AI that may or may not prove apocalyptic, while global warming still seems to threaten the near-future safety of humanity. It's been deeply depressing. The world lost some wonderful poets, actors, musicians, and writers this year, as it often does. Two people I knew and admired greatly, Ian Ferrier and Kevin Higgins, poets and organisers of events who impacted their communities immensely died, as did two of Canada's greatest musicians, Gordon Lightfoot and Robbie Robertson. In happier news, my friend Nik Nanos received the Order of Canada. Well deserved. Personally, the highlights of the year were spent with friends or family. If 2023 means anything good, for me, it is that I managed to maintain my heart failure status to the extent of staying alive, and the company I am director of, barely managed to make it through to the fortieth anniversary year of 2024 for Black Spring Press. I am proud of the over 33 books my team managed to edit and publsh this year. I have a new poetry collection out soon in January, I hope. 2024 is a daunting year. Trump looms. War continues. I am fighting to keep the press running, a small business facing challenges in a changing industry. Family members and friends face serious health challenges. My faith is shaken, but I don't want to give up. I will keep on as long as I can. Too many "Is" here. Ego is the enemy. Love thy neighbour. Try and be kind. May you find some measure of peace in the darkening storm.

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