Very Short Bio Note:

Alison Swan’s first full-length collection of poems, A Fine Canopy, was released by Wayne State University Press on October 6, 2020. Born in the Great Lakes basin, Swan is a Mesa Refuge alum and a Petoskey Prize for Grassroots Environmental Leadership co-winner. Her poems and environmental writing have appeared in two chapbooks and in many anthologies and journals. After stints on the east and west coasts of North America, Alison Swan settled back in Michigan’s lower peninsula where she teaches at Western Michigan University. Her first book Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes is a Michigan Notable Book.

Short Bio Note: 

Alison Swan was born in the Great Lakes Basin in 1962. Her first full-length collection of poems, A Fine Canopy, was released by Wayne State University Press on October 6, 2020. It is her fifth book. Her poems and essays have appeared in many publications, including her poetry chapbooks Before the Snow Moon and Dog Heart, the recent award-winning anthologies Elemental: A Collection of Michigan Creative Nonfiction, Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, and Here: Women Writing on the Upper Peninsula; the journals North American Review and TriQuarterly, and The Michigan Poet broadside series and anthology. Alison founded Eco Book Club at Ann Arbor’s Literati Bookstore in 2015 and has hosted it ever since. In 2006, her book Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes was named a Michigan Notable Book. Co-author of The Saugatuck Dunes: Artists Respond to a Freshwater Landscape, she’s been awarded a Mesa Refuge Residency and the Michigan Environmental Council’s Petoskey Prize for Grassroots Environmental Leadership. After stints on the east and west coasts of North America, Alison Swan settled back in Michigan’s lower peninsula where she teaches in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. She lives in the Huron and Kalamazoo River watersheds.

Longer Bio Note:

Born in the Great Lakes Basin in 1962, Alison Swan’s first full-length collection of poems, A Fine Canopy, was released by Wayne State University Press on October 6, 2020. It is her fifth book. Her poems and essays have appeared in many publications, including her poetry chapbooks Before the Snow Moon and Dog Heart, the recent award-winning anthologies Elemental: A Collection of Michigan Creative Nonfiction, Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, Here: Women Writing on the Upper Peninsula, and Poetry in Michigan/Michigan in Poetry, the journals North American Review and TriQuarterly, and The Michigan Poet broadside series and anthology. Swan founded Eco Book Club at Ann Arbor’s Literati Bookstore in 2015 and has hosted it ever since.

In the summer of 2013, Alice Greene & Company published Alison Swan’s second poetry chapbook Before the Snow Moona fine-art collaboration with artists Jean Buescher Bartlett and Melanie Boyle. Dog Heart, Swan’s first poetry chapbook, also a collaboration with Bartlett and Boyle, was released in 2011.  Fresh Water:  Women Writing on the Great Lakes (Michigan State University Press), Alison Swan’s brain child and labor of love, is a 2007 Library of Michigan Notable Book. Among her other awards are a Mesa Refuge Residency and the Michigan Environmental Council’s Petoskey Prize for Environmental Leadership. She is co-author of The Saugatuck Dunes: Artists Respond to a Freshwater Landscape. Her poem Porch Swing (Bloodroot Press, 1997), an early collaboration with Bartlett, has been acquired by the New York Public Library and other rare book collections.

An inspiring  speaker and writing workshop leader, Alison Swan holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. She earned her B.A. in English literature at Michigan State University with an emphasis on American literature and history. After stints on the east and west coasts of North America, she settled back in Michigan’s lower peninsula where she teaches in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University. She has been active in efforts to protect and preserve the Saugatuck Dunes on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan since 2001. In the 1990s she directed promotions and events at Ann Arbor’s late Shaman Drum Bookshop (“Academic, scholarly, and independent, since 1983,” a tagline she penned, “Oxford comma and all”). Also in the 1990s, she wrote a book column for Current magazine and author interviews and reviews for a weekly independent newspaper in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her earliest jobs included assisting with oral surgery, scooping ice cream, word processing for accountants and lawyers, teaching high school, and baking desserts.

Click here for more information about Swan’s books, here for recent interviews and readings,  here for upcoming events, and here for Alison Swan’s blog.