Wally Swist

Wally Swist

Wally Swist was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1953. His poems have appeared in such publications as Alaska Quarterly Review, The Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry, Appalachia, Connecticut Review, New England Watershed Magazine, Osiris, Puckerbrush Review, Rosebud, Sanctuary: The Massachusetts Audubon Magazine, Stories from Where We Live: The North Atlantic Coast (Milkweed Editions), Stories from Where We Live: The Eastern Woodlands (Milkweed Editions), and Yankee.

Sahara: A Journal of New England Poetry published a special issue devoted to his work in the winter of 2003 that featured many of his new and recent poems and a typescript recorded interview regarding his craft and life as a writer.

A lecture he delivered in the Robert Frost Homestead 2002 Literary Series, entitled "The Friendship of Robert Frost and Robert Francis: High Pressure Weather and Country Air," was published in the Summer 2003 issue of Puckerbrush Review.

In August 2003, he gave that summer’s finale reading in the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, accompanied by jazz cellist, Eugene Friesen, a member of Paul Winter Consort. One of the poems he read that evening was broadcast nationally on NPR’s Saturday Weekend Edition, and can be accessed at npr.org.

The late poet Robert Creeley wrote that his poems "are a beautifully perceptive reading of both the natural world and ourselves as its necessary testament and witness. If ‘seeing is believing,’ then Wally Swist can make believers of us all."

Regarding the same collection of poems, Veils of the Divine (Hanover Press, 2003), the esteemed poet Richard Wilbur writes: "Wally Swist’s poems are full of clean perceptions and clear, proportionate feeling. They are easy to read in the sense that they are continually rewarding. They have a fine balance, doing justice to the natural, the human, and the divine, and treating none of these as refuge from another. As a grateful reader, I applaud him."

Twice Mr. Swist has been awarded grants in poetry from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, in 1978 and in 2003. He has also been awarded three writing residencies at Fort Juniper, the Robert Francis Homestead, in North Amherst, Massachusetts, in the autumn of 1998, and two back-to-back one-year residencies from September 2003 through August 2005.

He currently make his home in South Amherst, Massachusetts.

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