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George Swede

George Swede

Born: November 20 1940 in Riga Latvia
Resides: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
E-mail: gswede (at) ryerson (dot) ca

George Swede began writing poetry in 1968 and published his first poem in 1969. A serious involvement with haiku began in l976 when the editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual asked him to comment on Makoto Ueda’s Modern Japanese Haiku (University of Toronto Press, 1976).     Haiku Positions: Co-founder, Haiku Canada (1977); Guest Editor for Brussels Sprout 5:2 (1988); Columnist for Simply Haiku (2005-2008); Assistant Editor, Red Moon Press (2000-08); Editor, Frogpond (2008-2012).
    Other Writerly Positions: Director, Poetry and Things, Toronto (1969-1970); Member, Poetry Advisory Committee, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Toronto (1969-1970); Impresario, "Scream-in to Celebrate the First Day of Spring," Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto (March 21, 1969 &1970); Poetry Editor, Poetry Toronto (1980-1981); Treasurer & 2nd Vice-President, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (1981-1984); Poetry Editor, Poetry Reviews Editor & Children's Book Review Editor for Cross-Canada Writers’ Quarterly (1982-1990); Guest Book Review Editor, Iron [England] (1995); Board Member, Access Copyright (1996-1997); Chair, Membership Committee, Writers’ Union of Canada (1996-1997).
    Haiku Contest Judge: Japan Air Lines Haiku Contest for British Columbia School Children (1987); Haiku Society of America's Harold G. Henderson Memorial Awards (1989 & 2007); Japan Air Lines World Children's Haiku Contest (1990); British Haiku Society's Museum of Haiku Literature Award (1996); International People’s Haiku Contest (Toronto, 1998); Betty Drevniok Award (Haiku Canada, 2002); World Haiku Club's First World Haiku Tournament (2002); San Francisco International Haiku Senryu and Tanka Contest (2004); Touchstone Poem Awards (2012); Polish International Haiku Competition (2013 & 2014); Touchstone Awards For Individual Poems (2014); Haiku Invitational, Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (2016).
    Other Poetry Contests As Judge: Markham, Ontario Public Libraries Fall Poetry Contest (1991); Mirrors 1991 International Tanka Awards (1992); Tanka Splendor, AHA Books (1997); Seasons -- Nature Poetry Contest, Federation of Ontario Naturalists (2002); Ultra Short Poem Competition, Ontario Poetry Society (2013 & 2016).

Awards and Other Honors:     Haiku Awards and Other Honors: Second Annual International Yuki Teikei Haiku Contest, Golden State Bank Award (1979); Haiku Journal, Yuki Teikei Society Award (1980); Honorable Mention, Haiku Society of America Kanterman Merit Book Awards (1978/1979/1980 for Wingbeats (1981); Featured Poet, Poetry Toronto (1981); Full Membership, League of Canadian Poets (1981); Fifth Annual High/Coo Press Mini-Chapbook Competition, Co-winner for All of Her Shadows (1982); Haiku Society of America Museum of Haiku Literature Award (1983, 1985, and co-winner, 1992); Featured Writer, What & Children’s Book News (1985); Runner-up, Wind Chimes Minibook Competition, for I Throw Stones At The Mountain (1988); Second Prize, Haiku Quarterly Special Haiku Contest (1989); Japan Air Lines Award—trip to Japan (1990); First Prize, Free Style, Mainichi Daily News Haiku in English Contest (1993); Second Prize, Mainichi Daily News 125th Anniversary Haiku in English Contest (1997); Third Place, Haiku Society of America Harold G. Henderson Memorial Awards (1997); Japan Foundation Award—trip to Japan (1997); First Prize, The Snapshot Press Tanka Collection Competition, for First Light First Shadows (2006); Honorary Life Membership, Haiku Canada (2007); Second Prize, Mainichi Daily News Haiku in English Contest (2008); Honorary Curator, American Haiku Archives (2008-2009); Scorpion Prize 19, Roadrunner 10:1 (2010 - judge, Marjorie Perloff); Second Prize (Tokusen), Kusamakura International Haiku Competition (2010); Honorable Mention, Touchstone Book Awards, for Joy In Me Still (2010); First Honorable Mention, Haiku Society of America Kanterman Merit Book Awards, for Joy In Me Still (2011); Grand Prize, Kusamakura Taisho, Kusamakura International Haiku Competition (2011); Finalist for the Dwarf Stars Award for the best short (50 lines) speculative poem (2012); Scorpion Prize 26, Roadrunner 12:2 (2012—judge, Mark Wallace); Honorable Mention, Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards, for micro haiku: three to nine syllables (2014); Honorable Mention, Haiku Society of America Kanterman Merit Book Awards, for micro haiku: three to nine syllables (2015); First Place, Haiku Society of America Kanterman Merit Book Awards, for Helices (2017).
    Other Awards and Honors (until 1991): Ontario Arts Council Writer's Grants—13; Canada Council Grants For Library/School Readings—about 10; Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" commendations—5.
    Selected Anthology Inclusions: Plantos’ Poesia:Emerging poets anthology (1975); Gist’s This is my best (1976); Dempster’s Tributaries (1978); Jessop’s International anthology of concrete poetry (1978); Wayman’s Going for Coffee (1981); McInnes’ Zoom shots (1982); Willmot’s Erotic Haiku (1983); Cadsby & Jacobs’ The Third Taboo (1983); McInnes’ Ripple Effects (1983); McNeil’s Here is a Poem: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry (1983); Higginson’s Haiku Handbook (1985); Howard & Duhaime's Haiku: Anthologie Canadienne / Canadian Anthology (1985); Charlesworth’s Rainbow Colours (1985); Downie et al.’s The Window of Dreams (1986); Thorn & Irwin’s Chinook (1986); Meyer’s Arrivals: Canadian Poetry in the Eighties (1986); Sherman’s Relations: Family Portraits (1986); van den Heuvel's The Haiku Anthology (1986 & 1999); Sato’s Haiku in English (1987); Hryciuk’s Milkweed (1987); Booth’s Whereever You Are (1987); Zola’s Poetry Plus (1988); McInnes’ Mirror Images (1988); Booth’s Til All the Stars Have Fallen (1989); McNeil’s Do Whales Jump at Night? (1990); Zola’s Poetry Plus Two (1990); Goldstein’s Tanka Splendor (1991); Huth’s The Subtle Journal of Raw Coinage (1991); Kato’s Four Seasons (1991); Higginson’s Wind in the Long Grass (1991); Higginson's Haiku World (1996); Kirkup’s The Haiku Hundred (1992); Milosz’s Haiku (1992); Kulling’s Go-cart Getaway (1992); Ross’s The Haiku Moment (1993); Haiku Society of America's A Haiku Path (1994); Reichhold & Reichhold’s Wind Five Folded (1995); Stenson’s Help! for Young Authors (1995); Farr & Strickland’s Emerald Forest (1995); Booth’s Images of Nature (1995); Struthers & Klassen’s Poets in the Classroom (1995); Booth & Swartz’s Sports and Spectators (1996); Kacian’s The Red Moon Anthology (1997 & 1998); Lynch’s “A path towards nature: Haiku aesthetics of awareness,” in Murphy’s (ed.) Literature of Nature: An International Sourcebook (1998); Best et al.’s Making a Difference (1998); Duhaime’s Haiku sans frontieres:une anthologie HAIKU mondiale (1998); Wishinsky’s Supplementary Readings: Language Arts (1998); Beaulieu’s Courier: An Anthology of Concrete and Visual Poetry (1999); Kacian’s snow on water (1999); Lee’s Losers First & I Want To Be The Poet Of Your Kneecaps (1999); Stryk & Bailey’s The Acorn Book of Contemporary Haiku (2000); Kacian’s the thin curve (2000); Lee’s Following the Plough (2000); Ioannou’s A Magical Clockwork (2000); Heard’s Songs of Myself (2000); Kacian’s a glimpse of red (2001); Tanemura & Missias’ New Moon: An Introduction to Issues in Contemporary American Tanka (2001); Kacian’s the loose thread (2002); Hardy’s Haiku: Poetry Ancient & Modern (2002); Hoshino’s Haiku to Haiku (2002 in Japanese); Miyashita’s The New Pond (2002); Kacian’s pegging the wind/i> (2003); Kreisberg & Rossiter’s "Being with Nature" in Chavis & Weisberger’s (eds.) The Healing Fountain: Poetry Therapy for Life's Journey (2003); Kirschner’s Inside Out: Haiku and Dreams (2003); Hardy & Dubant’s Haiku Poésies Anciennes & Modernes (2003); McCllintock et al.’s The Tanka Anthology (2003); Bazzano’s Haiku for Lovers (2004); Huth’s An/theology of Pwoermds (2004); Donegan’s Haiku: Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids (2004); Brady’s The Quiet Quarter: Anthology of New Irish Writing (2004); Kacian’s edge of light (2004); Hardy & Meiser’s Haiku Alte und moderne Meister (2005); Kacian’s tug of the current (2005); Kacian’s inside the mirror (2006); van den Heuvel & Tamura’s Baseball Haiku (2007); Kacian’s dust of summers (2007); Chicoine, Carter & Fraticelli’s Carpe Diem: Canadian Anthology of Haiku (2008); Donegan’s Haiku Mind (2008); Kacian’s white lies (2008); Bensa’s Champs et contrechamps de l’anthroplogie in L’Homme (2008); Kei et al.’s Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka (2009); Kolodji & Wilson’s Dwarf Stars (2009); Burns’ Montage: The Book (2010); Chelaru & Iacob’s Calatori Pe Meridiane Haiku/ Travellers On Haiku Meridians (in Romanian, 2010); Kacian’s where the wind turns (2010); Kei’s Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka (2010, 2011, 2012); De Beir & Man’s Zilvervisje Glimt (2010 ); Kacian’s Evolution (2011); Meyer & Meyer’s The White Collar Book (2011); Gurga & Metz’s Haiku 21 (2012); Kasturi & Villegas’s Imaginarium (2012); Kacian’s carving darkness (2012); Flipse & Hellal’s Haikool (in French, 2012); Landis & Gage’s Dwarf Stars (2012); Kacian et al.’s Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (2013); Kacian’s nothing in the window (2013); Buitelaar’s The Scent of Music: Haiku with a touch of music (2013); Gurga & Metz’s Haiku 21 (2014); Liu’s Butterfly Dream: 66 Selected English-Chinese Bilingual Haiku (2014); Liu’s One Man’s Maple Moon: 66 Selected English-Chinese Bilingual Tanka (2014); Iacob & Kacian’s The Light Singing—Lyrical Mosaic—International Biligual Anthology (English/Romanian, 2014); Kacian’s big data (2015); Codrescu’s Something out of Nothing (2015); Kacian’s galaxy of dust (2016); Ironside’s Off The Beaten Track (2016); Ramesh et al.’s Naad Anunaad (2016); Leuck’s More Grows in a Crooked Row: Tanka Conversations (2016); Braid & Shreve’s In Fine Form: A Contemporary Look at Canadian Form Poetry (2016); Epstein & Wald’s Every Chicken, Cow, Fish and Frog: Animal Rights Haiku (2016); Kacian’s dust devils (2017); Mason’s The Wonder Code (2017).
    Haiga Collaborations: precipice & unseen & windless (artwork, Kuniharu Shimizu,1990s); flood & shell (artwork, John Polozzolo, 1998); alone—You Tube []; argument—You Tube []; fog—You Tube []; windless—You Tube [] (animation by Jonathan Aitken, 2005); aging #1 (tanka art, Ray Rasmussen, 2006); alone (artwork, Kuniharu Shimizu, 2008); aging #2 (tanka art, Ray Rasmussen, 2010); ocean (arwork, Ion Codescru, 2010); loneliness (artwork, Kuniharu Shimizu, 2011); canyon (photo, Moyan Brenn, 2011); pencil (artwork, Kuniharu Shimizu, 2011); joy & well & sting (artwork by Kuniharu Shimizu, 2014); dump (artwork by Ion Codescru, 2014); beetle (artwork by Ron C. Moss, 2014).
    Magazine, Newspaper, Radio and TV Appearances: Asahi Shimbun, BBC3 Close to Silence, Bluenose Magazine, CBC Arts National, CBC Cross-Country Canada, CBC Take 30, CBC Vicki Gabereau Show, CJRT:FM Contemporary Canadian Poets, CKCO-TV Romper Room, Daily Yomiuri, El Ojo Del Lago, Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Globe and Mail, Halifax Herald, Irish Times, Japan Times, LA, Mainichi Daily News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NHK Magazine, New York Times, NPR On Point, Ottawa Citizen, RTE Quiet Quarter, Times of London, Times Literary Supplement, Toronto Life, Toronto Star, Tragaluz, TVO In Conversation With . . ., Washington Post, Washington Times, Wilson Quarterly, Windsor Star.

Books Published:    Collections of Haiku & Related Forms: Endless Jigsaw (Toronto: Three Trees Press, 1978); A Snowman, Headless (Fredericton NB: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1979); Wingbeats (La Crosse, WI: Juniper Press, 1979); This Morning's Mockingbird (Battle Ground, IN: High/Coo Press, 1980); Eye To Eye With A Frog (La Crosse, WI: Juniper Press, 1981); All Of Her Shadows (Battle Ground, IN: High/Coo Press, 1982); Frozen Breaths (Glen Burnie, MD: Wind Chimes Press, 1983); Flaking Paint (Toronto, ON: Underwhich Editions, 1983); Bifids (Toronto, ON: CURVD H&Z Press, 1984); The Space Between [with Leroy Gorman and Eric Amann] (Glen Burnie, MD: Wind Chimes, 1986); Multiple Personality (Vancouver, BC: Silver Birch Press, 1987); I Eat a Rose Petal (Aylmer, QC, Canada: Haiku Canada, 1987, broadsheet); I Throw Stones At The Mountain (Glen Burnie, MD: Wind Chimes Press, 1988, Broadsheet); bugs (Napanee, ON: pawEpress, 1998, broadsheet); Leaving My Loneliness (Pointe Claire, QC; King's Road Press, 1992); My Shadow Doing Something (Enfield, CT: Tiny Poems Press, 1997); Almost Unseen: Selected Haiku of George Swede (Decatur, IL: Brooks Books, 2000) and translated into French by Daniel Py (see below); Zen Garden / Emergency Exit (2002); First Light, First Shadows (Liverpool, UK: Snapshot Press, 2006); Joy In Me Still (Edmonton, AB: Inkling Press, 2010) and translated into French by Daniel Py (see below); White Thoughts, Blue Mind (Edmonton, AB: Inkling Press, 2010); embryo: eye poems (Toronto: Iņšpress, 2013); Le Haïku Moderne En Anglais [Daniel Py, Trans.; Serge Tomé, Illus. & Preface] (Rosny-sous-Bois: Éditions unicité, 2013); micro haiku: three to nine syllables (2014); Helices (2016); um mosquito no meu braço (2017).     Other Collections: Unwinding (Toronto, ON, Canada: Missing Link, 1974); Tell-tale Feathers (Fredericton, N. B., Canada: Fiddlehead, 1978); As Far As The Sea Can Eye (Toronto, ON, Canada: York, 1979); Biased Sample (Toronto: League of Canadian Poets, 1982, broadsheet); Tick Bird: Poems for Children (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1983); Night Tides (London, ON, Canada: South Western Ontario Poetry, 1984); Time Is Flies: Poems For Children (Toronto: Three Trees Press, 1984); High Wire Spider: Poems for Children (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1986); Leaping Lizard: Poems for Children (Stratford, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1988); Where Even the Factories Have Lawns [with JW Curry] (Toronto, ON, Canada: Gesture Press, 1988); Holes in My Cage: Poems for Young Adults (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1989); I Want to Lasso Time (Toronto, ON, Canada: Simon & Pierre, 1991); Five O'Clock Shadows [with George Amabile, Leonard Gasparini, Seymour Mayne, Ted Plantos] (Toronto, ON, Canada: Letters Bookshop, 1996).     Haiku Anthologies As Editor: Canadian Haiku Anthology (Toronto: Three Trees Press, 1979 & translated into Polish by Eva Tomaszewska, Kraków: Wydawnictswo Krytyki Artsitycznej Miniatura, 2003); Cicada Voices: Selected Haiku of Eric Amann 1966-1979 (Battle Ground, IN: High/Coo Press, 1983); Global Haiku: Twenty-five Poets World-wide [with Randy Brooks] (Hamilton, ON/ Cullercoats, Northumberland, England:Mosaic Press/Iron Press, 2000); Erotic Haiku: Of Skin On Skin [with Terry Ann Carter] (Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd., 2017).     A General Poetry Anthology As Editor: The Universe is One Poem: Four Poets Talk Poetry (Toronto, ON, Canada: Simon & Pierre, 1990); There will Always be a Sky (Boston/Toronto: Houghton Mifflin/Nelson Canada, 1993).     Essays on the Haiku Form: "A poet discovers haiku" - Bonsai: A Quarterly of Haiku 2:3 (1977); "The role of haiku in poetry therapy" - Cross-Canada Writers Quarterly 2:4 (1980); "The English language haiku" - Contemporary Verse Two 6:1 & 2 (1982); "The Haiku Spectrum" - Haiku in English: A poetic form expands [H. Sato, editor] (Tokyo: The Simul Press, 1987) [in Japanese]; "Elite haiku: Hybrids of nature and human content" - Modern Haiku 23:1 (1992); "Haiku in English" - mushimegane 14 (1998); "Haiku in the Year 2094" - Rediscovering Basho [S.H. Gill & C.A.Gerstle, eds.] (Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental, 1999); "The Haiku as a Match for Existing Western Contexts: Some Speculations" - Haiku Canada Newsletter 13:2 (2000); "Towards a Definition of the English Haiku" - Global Haiku: Twenty-five Poets World-wide [G. Swede & R. Brooks, editors] (Cullercoats, U.K./Oakville, ON: Iron Press/Mosaic Press, 2000); "A History of the English Haiku" - Global Haiku: Twenty-five Poets World-wide [G. Swede & R. Brooks, editors] (Cullercoats, U.K./Oakville, ON: Iron Press/Mosaic Press, 2000); "Attention, Integration and Haiku Popularity" - Gendai Haiku (Autumn, 2000); "The Mexican haiku, part 1: Origins" - [with Anita Krumins] Modern Haiku 35:1 (2004); "The Mexican haiku, part 2: After the pioneers" - [with Anita Krumins] Modern Haiku 36:1 (2005); "The mind of a plagiarist" - Frogpond: Journal of the Haiku Society of America 28:3 (2005); "Tracks in the Sand: Who Really Wrote the First Western Haiku?" - Simply Haiku: A Quarterly of Japanese Short Form Poetry 4:2 (2006); "Tracks in the Sand: Experiskinno Japanese Short Form Poetry" - Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry 5:2 (2007); Toronto Poets--5 Questions Series—George Swede. The Toronto Quarterly (online), Jan 5, (2011); Being an Editor for Literary Works - Notes From The Gean (online), Vol. 3, No. 3., (2011).     Collected Essays On The Haiku: The Modern English Haiku (Toronto: Columbine Editions, 1981, 52 pp.) and translated into French by Daniel Py, 2013 (see “Books” above).     Essays On Poetry In General: Poetry as therapy - Waves 4:1 (1975); Poetry for children and young adults - Canadian Author & Bookman 67:3 (1992).     Essays on Poetic Development: "Poetic Innovation" - The International Handbook On Innovation [L.V. Shavinina, editor] (Oxford: Elsevier Science/Pergamon, 2003); "Why Do We Write? - Imagination in Action [C. Malyon, editor] (Toronto: Mercury Press, 2007). Children's Story Books: The Case of the Moonlit Goldust (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1979); The Case of the Missing Heirloom (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1980); Quillby, The Porcupine Who Lost His Quills [with Anita Krumins] (Toronto: Three Trees Press, 1980); The Case of the Seaside Burglaries (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1981); The Case of the Downhill Theft Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1982); Undertow (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1982); Dudley and the Birdman (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1985); Dudley and the Christmas Thief (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1986). Psychology Books: Creativity. A New Psychology (Toronto, ON, Canada: Wall & Emerson, 1993); (ed.), The Psychology of Art: An Experimental Approach (Toronto, ON, Canada: Canadian Scholars' Press, 1994).     Poems and Prose Translated Into 22 Languages: Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Farsi, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, and Ukrainian.

Selected Work
passport check
my shadow waits
across the border
alone at last
i wonder where
everyone is
at the edge of the precipice     i become logical
i cannot name
  most of me
around the eyes
of the old fisherman
permanent ripples
tidal pools
the growing gaps
of memory

Credits: “passport check” published 24 times: Cicada 2:4 (1978) to um mosquito no meu braço (FJC Carvalho, trans., Poetas da Eufeme, 2017); “at the edge” published 22 times: A Snowman, Headless (title poem, Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1978) to naad anunaad (Ramesh, K., et al., eds., Vishwakarma, 2016); “around the eyes” published 10 times: Arc (1984) to Haiku: The Gentle Art of Disappearing (Rosenstock, G., ed., Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009): “alone at last’ published 19 times: Modern Haiku (1994) to Haiku in English (Kacian, J. et al., Norton, 2013); “wildflowers” published 5 times: The Heron’s Nest 12:1 (2010) to Haiku in English (Kacian, J. et al., eds. Norton, 2013); “tidal pools” published 2 times: Frogpond (2016) and dust devils (Kacian, J., ed., Red Moon Press 2017).

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