Alison Swan - poet, author, environmental activist

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Thanks for dropping by. My newest book A Fine Canopy is available now. My teacher, Mary Ruefle, sent these kind words: “These poems offer us acts of attention and tenderness, two things we need now more than ever.”

Attention and tenderness–yes! And a bit of anger and grief along the way, too. I’m a poet and writer who’s rattled by our apparent disregard for the “fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals.” That’s Aldo Leopold’s definition of land, as laid out in his clarion call to protect all of nature: A Sand County Almanac. I was the child who headed to the lake or into the woods with a bag of books and notebooks. Land and the water that turns land into watersheds remain inexhaustible sources of ongoingness.

But I’m also the adult who’s happy to visit—online—the paintings of an artist I recently discovered and the newly published poem of a friend. That sort of immediate access to another kind of inspiration can be breathtaking.

Fresh WaterReading and writing, especially the creative kind, liberate our imaginations from what-is and nudge us—or shove us—toward what-could-be. In these times, imagination, so long as it is coupled with a land ethic which does not disregard humans, seems more important than ever.

I’m based in Ann Arbor, Michigan–where I get to host Eco Book Club at one of my favorite bookstores, Literati. But I live in both the Huron River and Kalamazoo River watersheds, which are dear to me.

Click here for information about my books, here for recent news and upcoming events and here to listen to a poetry reading and conversation with Dave Dempsey in January 2021.

News & Events

Upcoming Events

    Having just spent 2 and 1/2 weeks in the heaven that is the Vermont Studio Center, I am scrambling to switch to being out in the world mode! I've got an embarrassment [...]

Almost an IPPY Winner!

This news tickled me this March morning: My book, A Fine Canopy, was the "almost winner" of an IPPY Poetry Medal. Jim Barnes, writing for Independent Publisher, described it as a "great book of poetry." (Thanks, [...]

My Blog

I host Eco Book Club at Literati Bookstore

We meet every six weeks or so, upstairs, at Literati Bookstore, 124 E. Washington, downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our book choices are informed by the climate and extinction crises, environmental racism, and the need to foster [...]

Tell Me What You Would Have Told Me

One year ago this book released into a pandemic and the most consequential election in modern times. Remember how nervous and weary so many of us were in October 2020? Nervous about getting the grifter and [...]

My new book is out in the world

I am thrilled to be able to tell you that my first full-length collection of poems A Fine Canopy has been released to the world. Please contact your favorite bookstore--or me--for details. Literati Bookstore hosted [...]

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