"Guggenheim award winner Robert Sward teaches at UC Ext. in Santa Cruz. Chosen by Lucille Clifton to receive a Villa Montalvo Literary Arts Award, he is the author of 16 books, including Four Incarnations, New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press). Contributing Editor to Blue Moon Review, he has just completed a new collection, Sex & TV with Aunt Miriam, from which the selections here are taken."

Robert's work has appeared in over 300 publications, including The New Yorker, Paris Review, Poetry (Chicago), The Hudson Review, textbooks and anthologies. While living in Canada, he worked for CBC Radio and served as book reviewer for The Toronto Star and Globe & Mail. More recently he has had artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and Djerassi Foundation.

More information on Robert can be found here

To contact Robert.

Mini-Chap from WDS

Robert Sward

Sex & TV with Aunt Miriam -- 1945

(originally published in CROSS-CONNECT)

Part 1

"Always wash your hands after you've played in the backyard with those
leaves and things before touching yourself," said my aunt, beginning our
affair with this public service announcement.

"Yes, m'am."

"Eddie, I'm going to show you how broadminded I am."


"But first I want you to tell me what you do with Lenore and her sister."


"You spin the bottle?"


Luminous brown-eyed English Miriam abuzz with heat,
My left arm around her, my right hand
in her right hand
         "Kiss me         love me         feel me, Eddie..."

I'm a pleaser.  But... what was it she wanted me to do?

                             A seventh grader, I'd been held
back a year at school.  "He tries hard, and he's smart about some things, but..."  

Anyway, I was right in there for a while with the slow learners.

Four thousand feet down in a North of England coal mine,
I'd just have grabbed a shovel and gotten to work.
I'd have known right away what to do.

Holding me with one hand,
marking with the other,
D-I-C-K, wrote my twenty-something aunt.
Hmm.  It felt good.

She finished by drawing some arrows and a bull's eye on her own body.

What was it like?  It was like television, "informative and entertaining."
Never to have been fucked and never to have watched television either,
and then to be fucking and watching the evening news
on one of the first TVs in Chicago, and the Atomic
Bomb going off and the war over all at the same time, I think...
the truth is, I still don't understand.

The diagrams and the lettering helped.
I like seeing things labeled.
I'm so grateful.

"All art aspires to the state of music."  That's true.  I know that.  And even at thirteen I loved Gershwin ("Rhapsody in Blue"), but I knew real music when I heard it.  "O do me, thrill me." And that's what I went for.  That's what I learned at thirteen.  And that's what I'm grateful for.

O Miriam, say it again.  Tell me where you want it.  Draw me a picture.
Ah, dearest, how helpful it's been having those letters printed on my dick.

                    How many times have I been told,
"Eddie, you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground"?  More times
than there are stars in the sky.  And I hold my head high.  At least I know where, O Aunt Miriam, O Miriam, to look for my dick.

 * * *

     Part 2

Fifty-two years later

"Oh, my God!  I can't stand it," she said, hearing my voice.
"How are you, Eddie?  I've been trying to find you.  You're
a missing person, you know?"

"I write, I've even published," I said.

"I talked to that publisher of yours.  Famous you're not."

"I know, I know.   And what about you, Miriam?"

"I got some health problems.  I go to temple, the B'nai Brith."
"And Uncle Jerry?"

"Dead.  That's why I'm calling, Eddie.  He's dead.  Fifty-four years
we'd been together."  Uncle Jerry, the handsomest man in Chicago,
circa 1945, singer on Chicago's WGN Radio.

"No one thought it would work.  Fifty-four years and we yelled all
the time.  What does anyone know about anything?" she said.

"You stuck it out," I say.  "That's good."

              She's twenty-one, twenty-two,
              pale, pinkie-brown where I put my lips.

             "Enjoy yourself, Eddie.  Life is to enjoy."
             "What about Jerry?  What about Uncle Jerry?"

             "Listen to me.  People go up and back between

                      and not loving.
               Do you understand, Eddie?"

              My lips here, there...
              She's teaching me.  "This is how you do it."

             "See," she says, "see."
              I'm thirteen and not wanting to.  Then

             "I want to."

"Woof, woof."

"That's Koko.  That dog has a weight problem.
"She doesn't want to move.
"so I let her sleep on our bed.
"Koko is on morphine."

"Your dog is on morphine?"

 "Did you ever hear of such a thing?
"Listen, you're all I got, Eddie.
"you're all the family that's left."

She wants me to fly to Chicago to see her.
"Do I have to draw you a picture?
"Come, Eddie.  Come and see the sights."

               We lie together... Betty Grable mouth
               and red red lipstick
               watching some old movie.
               Listening at the same time to the radio.
               It's the second half of a doubleheader.
               Cubs versus the Pirates.
               and the Cubs are ahead 4-3.
              "That's good, Eddie.  That's good.
              "It's  The Star Spangled Banner,
            "O God, don't stop,
              "It's The Stars and Stripes Forever.
              "The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
              "God Save the Queen!
              "Do you understand?
              "Don't stop."

She's pushing eighty, she says, and sells Avon.  "It's a living."

I'm grateful, I want to say.  I'm grateful for the arrows.
Whatever else has changed, I will always remember.

The aurora borealis,
and dawn's early light.
That was the year the Cubs won the pennant.

I understand, Miriam, these are the ties that bind.
Broad stripes and bright stars.
America the beautiful.
Purple mountains and spacious skies,
the screwed and sweetly screwy,
this our family, and this our country,

sweet land of liberty,
O fruited plain, O amber fields of grain,
from your apartment house to ours
('til Mom found out)
of thee, O darling, of thee I sing.

 Copyright (C) Robert Sward    1998

Fashion Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

(originally published in SANTA CLARA REVIEW)

"Marriage and hanging go by destiny."
--Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy


Her fruity, floral fragrance--
Honey at her dressing table
like a pilot in the cockpit,
a woman in control, old TV Guides,catalogs,
ordering information
for all the major scents and potions.

She put on (how can I describe them?)
refrigerator avocado green
and white
Keith Partridge bell bottoms. Bizarre and incandescent.
No less bizarre, I wore purple velveteen pants
and a tie-dyed shirt.

Her old lover Warren was there in his pimp suit,
giant bug-eye sunglasses
and huge fake fur pimp hat,
a party with vintage Joan Crawford movies,
Honey wearing Chanel Number 5,
the first synthetic scent.

And me, her consort, I wore
'a blend of crisp citrus and warm spice, mossy woods, a scent
for the feeling man.'

I remember her silver and turquoise earrings.
on the make-up table
as the bed jumped and jerked
those first two years.

Ravi Shankar, Thai weed, and a little homegrown,
that velvet ribbon choker with butterflies
and the scent of her, as she,
O, yummy, yummy,
O, yess, yess, yummy,
Honey's tooled leather belt on the floor.

Then, "Tell me what you want," I said.
"You can't give me what I want."
"What do you want?"
"I'm out of style and so are you.
I want to lose weight."

And like that it was over.

"How about this handbag?" offered Cosmo,
"the perfect accessory
to the outfit you wear
when you leave your husband."

And that's how it ended. Honey at some fashion show
throwing back her head, the spotlight playing
on her face and neck.

Yes, I could see what Honey wanted,
to shop where she'd never shopped before,
to pull on high leather boots
and a mini-skirt; then, beaded Navaho handbag in hand,
flashing a little scented thigh, walking out on someone
who couldn't keep up,
a jerk in tie-dye.

I loved the woman, longed to stay with her and,
to do so, if I could have, arm-in-arm with her,
I'd have walked out on myself.

Portrait of an L.A. Daughter
(originally published in REALPOETIK)

Take #1

Braided blonde hair
white and pink barrettes
Bette Davis gorgeous
I hug her
dreamy daughter with no make-up
silver skull and crossbones
middle ("don't mess with me")
three or four others in each ear
rings in her navel
rings on her thumbs
gentle moonchild
"pal" she announces
to "Porno for Pyros"
formerly the group "Jane's Addiction"
"Nothing's Shocking"
with Perry Farrell
Dave Navarro on guitar
and Stephen Perkins
on drums
"Ain't No Right" they sing.
"What are you,
some kind of groupy?" I say,
She says nothing,
just turns up the volume.
"Been Caught Stealing"
they sing
and "Ted Just Admit It"
"Every body everybody everybody's-"

I hug her
Wet 'n' Wild lip gloss
diamond stud earrings
and glitter on her cheeks

Wan, she's looking wan
my dancing daughter

Hannah Davi -a new name-
walk-on in the movie "Day Of Atonement"
with Christopher Walken

And a part in a Levitz Furniture ad
("it's work")
and a part in an MCI commercial
("Best Friends")
breaking in
"Brotherhood Of Justice"
"Lost Boys"
"Private Lessons"

a Swiss Alps bar-maid
("classic blonde Gretel")
in a Folger's Coffee commercial

"Grunge is in" she says
visiting Santa Cruz
"any Goodwill's around?"

* * *

"crowning" says the doctor

"Hannah" says her mother
"the name means 'grace'"

Two-year-old drooling
as I toss her into space
and back
she falls
and back
into space again

Flawless teeth and perfect smile
one blue eye slightly larger than the other
her three thousand miles away mother
still present as
two as one
two breathing together
we three breathe again as one
Hannah O Hannah

Scarlet the Parrot

(originally published in FOUR INCARNATIONS)

Scarlet perches on the office windowsill
shrieking, hollering, barking

Like a dog. She knocks her mottled beak
against the warehouse window

And tries to open
the metal hook and eye latch.

There are parrot droppings
on the telephone and Scarlet has eaten

Part of the plastic receiver.
She slides like a red fireman

With yellow and blue feathers
up and down the cord,
holding on

With her beak, maneuvering gracefully
with her claws.
When I approach she calls, "Hello, hello..."

Walks up my trouser leg holding on
with her macaw's beak. I feed the bird

Oranges, pears, almonds,
sunflower seeds.

I swivel my head round and round
in imitation of her neck movements.

"What's happening?" she asks,
and again, "What's happening?"

"Hello, cookie. Yoo-hoo...
Can you talk, can you talk?" she asks

Chewing for several minutes,
finally swallowing
a leather button

Off my green corduroy jacket, threatening,
ready to tear my ear off,

Biting if I place my finger
in her mouth. Her tongue is black

And her beady eyes piercing like an eagle's.
She wants a response, tests my reactions.

Tenderly the parrot walks up my corduroy jacket,
sensually restraining her claws. I'm aroused.

When a dog barks, she barks too: Rrf, rrf.
Casually, a relaxed but authentic

Imitation. "Hello, darling," she breathes,
looking me in the eye knowing I know

If it pleases her she might bite my ear off.
"Yoo-hoo, yoo-hoo, now you say something," she says.

Uncle Dog: the Poet at 9

(originally published in CHICAGO REVIEW)

I did not want to be old Mr.
Garbage man, but uncle dog
who rode sitting beside him.

Uncle dog had always looked
to me to be truck-strong
wise-eyed, a cur-like Ford

Of a dog. I did not want
to be Mr. Garbage man because
all he had was cans to do.

Uncle dog sat there me-beside-him
emptying nothing. Barely even
looking from garbage side to side:

Like rich people in the backseats
of chauffeur-cars, only shaggy
in an unwagging tall-scrawny way.

Uncle dog belonged any just where
he sat, but old Mr. Garbage man
had to stop at everysingle can.

I thought. I did not want to be Mr.
Everybody calls them that first.
A dog is said, Dog! Or by name.

I would rather be called Rover
than Mr. And sit like a tough
smart mongrel beside a garbage man.

Uncle dog always went to places
unconcerned, without no hurry.
Independent like some leashless

Toot. Honorable among scavenger
can-picking dogs. And with a bitch
at every other can. And meat:

His for the barking. Oh, I wanted
to be uncle dog--sharp, high fox-
eared, cur-Ford truck-faced

With his pick of the bones.
A doing, truckman's dog
and not a simple child-dog

Nor friend to man, but an uncle
travelling, and to himself--
and a bitch at every second can

Turning 60

(originally published in FREE LUNCH)

"The first 40 years of life give us the text; the next 30 supply
the commentary on it.."


According to Webster, the word six derives from the Latin
"sex" [s-e-x] and the Greek "hex" [h-e-x].
Six units or members
as, an ice-hockey team;
a 6-cylinder engine;
sixfold, six-pack, sixpenny nail, six-
shooter, sixth sense.

"Zero" denotes the absence of all magnitude, the point of departure
in reckoning; the point from which the graduation of a scale
(as of a thermometer) begins;
zero hour,
as, "the zero power of a number."

Zero, the great "there's nothing there" number,
a blast off into a new decade.


Seeking solace in a review of grammar, I turned to Strunk & White
"Elements of Style." Standing at attention,
opening to the section on usage, I chanted and sang
uniting my voice with the voices of others, the vast chorus
of the lovers of English.

We sing of verb tense, past, present and future.
We sing the harmony of simple tenses.
We lift our voice in praise of action words,
and the function of verb tense.

We sing of grammar which is our compass
providing, as it does, clues as to how
we might navigate the future,
at the same time it
illuminates the past.

As a teacher, I talk. That's present.
For 30 years as a teacher, I talked. That's past.
It may only be part time, but I will talk. That's future.


I will have invoked the muse.

I will have remembered to give thanks, knowing our origins
are in the invisible, and that we once possessed boundless energy,
but were formless, and that we are here to know 'the things of the heart
through touching.'

I will have remembered, too, that there is only one thing
we all possess equally and that is our loneliness.

I will have loved.
You will have loved.
We will have loved.

My Muse

(originally published in DISQUIETING MUSES)

--"As a rule, the power of absolutely falling in love soon
vanishes... because the woman feels embarrassed by the spell
she exercises over her poet-lover and repudiates it..."

--Robert Graves, The White Goddess

"Why don't you just write a poem, right now?" she says.
Western wind, when wilt thou blow...
why don't you write a poem like that,
like that Anonymous? Something inspirational."

"Talk about muses," I sulk,
"Yeats' wife was visited in her dreams by angels
saying, 'We have come to bring you images
for your husband's poetry.'"

"Yeah? So what?" she says. "It's out of style.
I already do too much for you."

Odalisque in a wicker chair,
book open on her lap,
dry Chardonnay at her side,
hand on a dozing, whiskered Sphinx.

"You need a muse" she says, "someone beautiful, mysterious,
some long-lost love,
fragile, a dancer perhaps. Look at me..."

"Yeah?" I say, refilling her glass,
"You hear me complaining? You're zaftig."
"Firm, earthy, juicy, too," I say.

* * *

"Juicy plum," I say, in bed, left hand over her head,
"rose petals," I say, right arm around her.
"Silver drop earrings," I murmur, ordering out
for gifts. "Aubergine scarf, gray cashmere cardigan."

I do this in my sleep. Go shopping in my sleep.
"Oh, yeah, and a case of Chardonnay."
Wake to the scent of apple blossoms,
decades in the glow of roselight.

* * *

"Wake," she whispers. I tell her my dream.
We kiss. Poppy Express. Racy Red. Red Coral.
Star Red.
Red red.

"Enough. That's enough," she says.

Prayer for My Mother (1906-1948

"May the Great Name be blessed..."

by Robert Sward

1. Mother's Limousines
Mourn like a Jew, Grandfather says,
tearing my shirt
  from the collar down,
and when she's buried, rip out the grass
  and wail.
Expose your heart. Lament for her.
  Mother, mother
  mother of the inflamed heart.
Car door slamming behind us as we exit...
  I don’t like her, I'm thinking,
  I really don't like her.
Bar-mitzvah’d boy, 13, I say it once,
say what I'm told to say,
"He is the Rock, His work is perfect...
Say it,
  the Kaddish of sounds, not words
May a great peace from heaven... I say,
May His great Name be blessed,
...Magnified and sanctified...
  ALENU... I say.
...a week later,
  no to the rabbi,
  no to morning,
  no to twilight,
no to the mid-day prayer
no repeating the prayer three times a day for a year
  no, I say, and no to the shul.
  "We're animals first and human second," she says,
  "and there is no God.
Do you hear me?"
Fox-trotting mother. Dancer mother. Beauty Queen
  in the house of prayer.
  "Mom," I ask, "how do you pray?"
  She shakes her head and turns away.
  "Snap out of it," she says.
  "Better to go shopping," she says,
  "better to get a job, better to make money."
  I reach out. "Mom--"
  "Hands off," she says,
  "hands off."
  "Kids," she says. "Oy vay."
"Holocaust," she says. "Oy oy, oy."
"God," she says.
"What God?"
"Bless the Lord who is blessed," I don't pray.
May the Great Name be blessed," I don't pray,
  but burn a candle so Mother,
Miss Chicago
  can find her way back.
  Later , I cannot recall her face.
  "...you're not to look on any photo of her,
  not for seven days," says Grandfather.
  What did she even look like?
  Faceless son
mourning a faceless mother,
mourning her,
  mourning on the fly
She'll wander for seven days, Grandfather says,
then, when she's wormed, her soul will return to God.
  lacks a body and I can't recall her face
  lacks a body and I can't recall her face
"Save her soul from Gehenna.
"Join us," pleads the rabbi.
  No, no is my prayer
No to duty and no to prayer.
Who was she? Some brunette rich girl
I never knew,
  a stranger dead at 42.
Mother, the beautiful secretary.
I touch her in a dream. She turns,
and there ’s no one there.
I shake from head to foot.
I stand and I sway.
"Mother, Mother," I say.
Blessed be the stranger.
No, no to the stranger,
no to the stranger.
No is my Kaddish.
No is my prayer.
I am the no
I am the not.
I will not be her savior,
I will not.
2. Gehenna, or Purgatory
  Mother applies Pond's Beauty Cream. Her face glistens.
  Massages her forehead with one hand,
holds the other to her heart.
  "What's the point?" she asks, cigarette ablaze,
mouth tightening.
  When she dies, they bury her not in a shroud,
but in pancake make-up
  and best gray dress.
Turn the photos to the wall, says Grandfather,
and cover your lips.
That's right. Now cover your face.
Isolate yourself -- groan -- let your hair grow wild.
The mourner is the one without a skin, says the Talmud.
Understand? You are no longer whole.
And I think: I am going to die, too.
Sit in silence and say nothing.
  How about a prayer to locusts? I pray,
  How about a prayer to boils?
  O murdering heaven, I pray.
Grandfather cooks lentils,
lentils and eggs. Mourner's food, he calls it.
  A prayer to rats,
  and a prayer to roaches.
Death is the mother of beauty, he says.
The death of another makes you want to die, he says.
The Angel of Death is made entirely of eyes, Grandfather says.
  Damn seeing,
  Damn touching.
  Damn feeling.
  Damn loving.
In Jewish hell--
  I am the unknowing,
  the not Jewish Jew.
Split, cloven,
  In hell
  and eyeless,
  No, no to blessings,
  no to teachings,
  no to reading from right to left.
  I pray with them,
  I pray with the no, I pray with the not.
  I pray with the dead, I pray with the damned.
  God, God who is a wound, we pray.
3. Against Darkness
  Kaddish is a song against darkness, says the rabbi.
Magnified and sanctified
May His Great Name Be...
  "No it says, no to darkness. No to nothingness
  'May His Great Name be blessed.'
  "Kaddish praises God...
  "Kaddish: a mourner's prayer
  that never mentions death.
"Now then, Let R__, the son of G__,
  come forward," says the rabbi,
but I freeze, pretend not to hear.
Again he calls, calls me to say Kaddish.
(Loudly) "Let R__, son of G__, step beside me."
Ten other mourners turn in my direction.
Again I pretend not to hear.
Staring, face crimson, then white, he turns
and continues with the service.
The Lord is our God, the Lord is One...
I mourn her -- mourn Kaddish -- mourn shul
  and head for home. Age 13, I walk out
for stones
  I might hurl into heaven.
  I am the un-bar-mitzvah,
Jew from nowhere,
  skipped Jew,
cleft Jew,
  Jew, pause in the beating of the heart.
  Once home, I pray, Damn Him,
  damn G-d, I pray.
Lying in bed I make up my mind to sin.
Holding open my eyes with the fingers
  of one hand
I use the fingers of the other
  to masturbate my cornea.
  Mother, car door slamming,
    the shovel biting
  Mother, whose body is the world,
    spinning into space--
  Life rattles, she says.
  My son, His Royal Highness, she says,
    “get used to it.
  Mom, is there an afterlife?
  Shape up, she says. You are my afterlife.
    God help us.
4. Anniversary
"We're just subdivisions of one person.
One's no better than any other.
Someone dies and you move forward
  into the front lines," Grandfather says,
lighting a yortzeit candle.
"Blessed art thou who raises the dead..."
Shaking the match, he turns. Gottenyu! he says.
I should have been next.
Tears well up
  and I see him see her
in me.
Same color hair,
  same eyes... Grandfather says.
Remember seeing her in her coffin? he asks,
  grabbing my arm.
Your mother didn't believe, but she'll be raised
and rest with G-d. Does love quit?
"Can you feel her... hear her inside you?"
I nod.
"Here, in my chest."
"And what does she say?"
"She says nothing," I reply,
  but she does:
  "Loopy doop," she says, "Rest in peace!
  Wait'll you die, you'll see. There is no peace.
  When you're dead,
you're dead.
  Meshugge! she says, and shakes her head.
Pray, damn you, he says. It's your mother.
...Now it's over, he sobs.
  But you, the un-mourner
will mourn for her all your life.
Jew, Jew without beginning, he mocks,
Jew who got away,
  sinner, sinner, he yells,
snap out of it.

______Copyright (C) 1999-2000 Robert Sward

One for the Road

(originally published in ALSOP REVIEW)

One for the road.
A little detached it was, but bouncy, flouncy, hoochie coochie,
woo wah woo, out there under the stars,
woo wah woo,
one for the road, one for the road it was,
and end of the show.
Stupid shit, how was I to know?
One for the road and end of the show?
So good-humored it was, I missed the clue,
hugging and kissing, all that
hugging and kissing.
Missed just how all over it really was.

Guggenheim award-winner Robert Sward teaches at UCSC in Santa Cruz. Chosen by Lucille Clifton to receive a Villa Montalvo Literary Arts Award, he is the author of 16 books including Four Incarnations, New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press). Contributing Editor to Web Del Sol and Blue Moon Review, he is working now on Portrait of an L.A. Daughter & Other Poems, of which "Kaddish" is a sample.

e-mail: sward@cruzio.com



Advertisements, Odyssey Chapbook Number One, 1958
Uncle Dog & Other Poems, 1962
Kissing The Dancer & Other Poems, Introduction by William Meredith, 1964
Thousand-Year-Old Fiancee, 1965
Horgbortom Stringbottom, I Am Yours, You Are History, 1970
Hannah's Cartoon, 1970
Quorum/Noah (With Mike Doyle), 1970
Gift, 1971
Five Iowa Poems, 1975
Cheers For Muktananda, 1976
Honey Bear On Lasqueti Island, B.C., 1978
Six Poems, 1980
Twelve Poems, 1982
Movies: Left To Right, 1983
Half-A-Life's History, Poems New & Selected, 1983
The Three Roberts, Premiere Performance, 1984
(Featuring Robert Priest, Robert Zend, and Robert Sward)
The Three Roberts On Love, 1985
The Three Roberts On Childhood, 1985
Poet Santa Cruz, Introduction by Morton Marcus, 1985
Four Incarnations, New & Selected (1957-1991), 1991
Uncivilizing. A Collection of Poems, 1996
Sex & TV with Aunt Miriam (in manuscript)


The Jurassic Shales, A Novel, 1975
Family, with contributions by David Swanger, Charles Atkinson, Tilly
Shaw, 1994
A Much-Married Man, A Novel, 1996


The Toronto Islands, An Illustrated History, 1983


Vancouver Island Poems, An Anthology, 1973
Emily Carr: The Untold Story, 1978

"Here is Robert Sward, now in his sixties, still fresh, ingenuous, and funnier than ever. His life--and what a life--is an open book. You can read all about it here. What's more, you will want to call your friends and read poems to them over the phone. I know, I've done it."
--Carolyn Kizer

"Robert Sward's language seems to have been invented only this morning, as fresh as childhood, as wise as the animals in the oldest myth. These poems want it all: to live in all beings, all houses, all landscapes, to let nothing be uncelebrated."
--William Dickey

"Sward has heard the best pop/op minds of his generation, marrying those sounds with the sensitive responses to such earlier literary giants as Melville, Whitman, and E.E. Cummings... Four Incarnations is one of the very best poetry books of the year."
--Robert Peters

"With this selection from the dozen volumes of verse he has published in the last 25 years, Robert Sward proves himself to be one of this country's finest poets--and surely the one most neglected..."
--Earle Birney

"Like other good works of art, these poems have the air of having been made for people rather than for other artists."
--Pulitzer Prize winner William Meredith

Uncle Dog & Other Poems... a poetry of surprise, of individuality, often of bitter fun.
--The Antioch Review

Kissing The Dancer... fierce, new-minted and convincing... he has a voice and a range.
--The New York Times Book Review

Thousand-Year-Old Fiancee... In the animal poems there is a bravery in the face of our limitations, a warmth for our absurdities.
--The Carleton Miscellany

Honey Bear on Lasqueti Island, B.C.... The book is a celebration... Sward's poems are deceptively simple paeans to his life and love.
--Pacific Northwest Review of Books

Half-A-Life's History... The poems of sexual and family love are among the most satisfying in the collection... The poems have intelligence, taste, inventiveness....
--The Toronto Star