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Monday September 01, 2014
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Alison Swan

 

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But in a much quieter way Swan has been making poems for many years, poems that celebrate the place she lives in but that also recognize the tenuous nature of the beauty she finds there. Although an occasional resident and regular visitor to Ann Arbor, Swan lives in Saugatuck, a short walk from Lake Michigan, and that place is clearly at the center of her imagination. In Dog Heart, her first chapbook of poems, she writes of the place and its importance, even during the harsh months of winter, when "the sun which cannot outrun this cold crawls along / so low in the sky it catches in the trees." The season forces her to look at small things, like the tracks songbirds make in the snow:

We learn to look that closely and who can blame us

For days the sky has descended

This builds character, we tell each other

hearing the wish even as we nod or shrug

What's to be done? We live here

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