Michael Swan

Michael Swan was the winner of The Poetry Society’s Stanza Competition in 2010 with ‘I Wasn’t There’. He works in English language teaching and applied linguistics, with a focus on grammar. He has been writing poetry since his first mid-life crisis, quite a while back. His poems have been widely published, and he has gained a fair number of prizes and commendations. He also sometimes translates poetry. His collections (with Frogmore, Oversteps and Niculescu) have all smashed the three-figure sales barrier, and he is planning publication of another. His work is mostly thoughtful, not lyrical: writing poetry helps him to make some sense of a seriously confusing universe. He often finds humour a valuable tool in this respect, but does not react well to being regarded as a ‘comic poet’. He values clarity and economy; reviewers have seen this apparent simplicity as ‘deceptive’. Although his verse is mostly ‘free’, form of one kind or another is important to him. A critic who didn’t much like his poetry conceded that it did at least have a certain ‘loose rhythmic flow’, and he is still wondering uneasily what exactly that meant. This year’s commendation in the Stanza Poetry Competition (2020) is for a rare love poem – evidence that even grammarians have feelings. mikeswan.net