(If you’d like to buy a copy of Before the Snow Moon, you’ll find it at Nicola’s Books and Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, at Brilliant Books in Traverse City, Michigan, and at the Nines Gallery in Holland, Michigan. Or, contact me. And it’s also available on Amazon.)

I’m superstitious about writing about my own poems, especially before they’ve been released to the world, so here are some of the nice things poets have written about the poems in Before the Snow Moon. Artists Melanie Boyle and Jean Buescher Bartlett designed the book. Boyle’s beautiful watercolor turns the cover into a glimpse of what I sometimes get to see when I walk in the woods. My gratitude to Jill Peek, of Alice Greene & Company, the book’s publisher, who put this team together.

smBefore_The_Snow_Moon_cover“Rilke wrote that all error comes from the fact that people look for what they have in common within themselves rather than in the context of the world they live within. Without explicitly stating it, this is the interior Alison Swan paints for us in the tradition that runs from Wang Wei to Machado. She makes the landscape come alive, illuminating the human within.”—Dan Gerber, author of Sailing through Cassiopeia

“‘We’re terrestrial creatures who must stay warm or die.’ Swan’s poems make me feel this in a deep down way. After a poem’s initial chill as it evokes our minuscule and fleeting presence, the abiding warmth of that wide enormity seeps in.”—Nance Van Winckel, author of Pacific Walkers

“Alison Swan’s new chapbook  begins with glee at an approaching dawn and ends with a magical child lost in a green world. Along the way she takes us from Detroit to Saturn, with several stops in her beloved dunes. Accompanying this imagination on its travels is more than an adventure: it’s an honor.”—Keith Taylor, author of If the World Becomes So Bright

“In poems ranging in subject matter from a child’s first words to the flight of a white dove, Alison Swan fills her lines with moonlight and enchanted forests, “the lemon light of morning,” and “the silver glaze of sidewalks.”  This is chapbook to read on a quiet morning with a cup of tea, prepared to be charmed and surprised.”—Laura Kasischke, author of Space, In Chains

I do hope that when the book’s out, you’ll give it a look. Here’s the first poem in Before the Snow Moon, conceived in Poetry Boot Camp with the inimitable Holly Wren Spaulding.



It is good to be

mortal but otherwise flawed

to care and suffer and

look out into

the lemon light of morning and

call it beautiful and

feel expectation

for the eighteen thousandth

two hundredth and sixty-second



That’s the number of days in fifty years! (I think.) Click here to read about my upcoming readings. Before the Snow Moon will be available at the Saugatuck reading before it hits any bookstores.