Alison Swan - poet, author, environmental activist

Thanks for dropping by. My newest book A Fine Canopy is available now. Virtual and live events are in the works. 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.” Hearing praise from some of my heroes about my work has been priceless.

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—my friend’s newest paintings. or to click through to another friend’s newly published poem. That sort of immediate access to another kind of inspiration can be breathtaking for those of us who grew up without computers.

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 another 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

On June 21, 2022, at 7 PM, in downtown Douglas, Michigan (across the Kalamazoo River from Saugatuck), I will read poems born on the Saugatuck lakeshore. I will be joined by poet and Great Lakes nature expert, [...]

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 and you can have your very own copy now. Please contact your [...]

My Blog

Orion Magazine Recommends A Fine Canopy

This fairly extraordinary and completely unexpected news filled my screen yesterday when I opened my newsletter from Orion magazine, a magazine I have read and loved for decades: Orion's poetry editor, Camille T. Dungy reviewed and [...]

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 [...]

This Cool Thing Happened to my Poem

This cool thing happened because of my new book. I don’t have a picture, so bear with me, please, as I recreate with words the photo that was deleted before it made its way to me. Somewhere [...]

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