Skip to content
Wally Swist

Wally Swist

Born: April 26 1953
Resides: Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
E-mail: wswist (at) yahoo (dot) com

Wally Swist is the author of 20 books and chapbooks of poetry. A short biographical documentary film regarding his work, In Praise of the Earth, was released by award-winning filmmaker Elizabeth Wilda (WildArts, 2008). Also, he has published a scholarly monograph, The Friendship of Two New England Poets, Robert Frost and Robert Francis (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2009). A recording of a poem from his reading in the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, accompanied by jazz cellist Eugene Friesen, a member of Paul Winter Consort, is archived at His selected haiku, The Silence Between Us, was published by Brooks Books in their Goodrich Haiku Masters Series in 2005.

Awards and Other Honors: Swist was awarded Artists Fellowships in Poetry from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts in 1978 and in 2003. The Trustees of the Estate of Robert Francis awarded him three writing residencies at Fort Juniper, the Robert Francis Homestead, in North Amherst, Massachusetts, in the autumn of 1998, and two back-to-back residencies from September 2003 through August 2005. He was twice awarded the Museum of Haiku Literature Tokyo Award [Frogpond XIII:2 (1990) and Frogpond XVIII:3 (1995)]. His selected haiku, The Silence Between Us, was published by Brooks Books in their Goodrich Haiku Masters series in 2005. Swist's full-length volume of love poems, Luminous Dream, was a finalist for the 2010 FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize. On July 29, 2014, Garrison Keillor read his poem "Radiance" on The Writer's Almanac.

Books Published:     Books and Chapbooks: The View of the River (Kelsay Books, 2017); The Windbreak Pine: New and Uncollected Haiku 1985 – 2015 (Snapshot Press, 2016); Daodejing [with David Breeden and Steven Schroeder] (Lamar University Press, 2015);Luminous Dream (Cave Spring, GA: FutureCycle Press, 2010); Mount Toby Poems (Fulton, MO: Timberline Press, 2009); The Silence Between Us: The Selected Haiku of Wally Swist (Decatur, IL: Brooks Books, 2005); Veils of the Divine (Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2003); The White Rose (Fulton, MO: Timberline Press, 2000); The New Life (West Hartford, CT: Plinth Books, 1998); The Mown Meadow: First Selected Haiku and Sequences, 1977-1994 (San Diego, CA: Los Hombres Press, 1996); Train Whistle (Aylmer, Quebec, Canada: Proof Press, 1996); Blowing Reeds (Fulton, MO: Timberline Press, 1995); For the Dance (Easthampton, MA: Adastra Press, 1991); The Gristmill’s Trough (Richland Center, WI: Hummingbird Press, 1991); Sugaring Buckets (Battle Ground, IN: High/Coo Press, 1989); Unmarked Stones (Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada: Burnt Lake Press, 1988); Chimney Smoke (La Crosse, WI: Juniper Press, 1988); Waking Up the Ducks (Easthampton, MA: Adastra Press, 1987); Of What We’re Given (Guilford, CT: Dunk Rock Books, 1980); New Haven Poems (Hamden, CT: Connecticut Fireside Press, 1977).      Scholarly Monograph:  The Friendship of Two New England Poets, Robert Frost and Robert Francis: A Lecture Presented at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, New Hamphsire (Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2009).      Anthology Appearances:  What's Nature Got to Do with Me?: Staying Wildly Sane in a Mad World (Prescott, AZ: Native West Press, 2011); Where the River Goes: The Nature Tradition in English-Language Haiku (forthcoming, Ormskirk, UK: Snapshot Press, 2011); Solace in So Many Words (Glenview, IL: Hourglass Books/Weighed Words LLC, 2010); The Light in Ordinary Things (Berkeley, CA: Fearless Books, 2009); From the Other World: Poems in Memory of James Wright (Duluth, MN: Lost Hills Books, 2008); Terebess Asia Online (Budapest, Hungary: Terebess Asia Online [TAO], 2008); Haiku schreiben: Einfuhrung in die Kunst den Augenblick in Worte zu fassen (Lonnie Hill DuPont, Editor, Hamburg, Germany: Haiku Verlag, 2004); Proposing on the Brooklyn Bridge: Poems About Marriage (Ginny Lowe Connors, Editor, Hartford, CT: Grayson Books, 2003); The Duchess of Malfi’s Apricots and Other Literary Fruits (Robert Palter, Editor, Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2002); Haiku: Ancient and Modern (Jackie Hardy, Editor, Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle & Company, Inc., 2002); Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure (Wendy Maltz, Editor, Foreword by Thomas Moore, Novato, CA: New World Library, 2001); Stories from Where We Live: The North Atlantic Coast (Sara St. Antoine, Editor, Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 2000); The Haiku Anthology (Cor van den Heuvel, Editor, New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1999); Haiku sans frontieres (Andre Duhaime, Editor and Translator, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Les Editions David, 1998); Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry (Beverly Hills, CA: Monitor Book Company, 1997); Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac (William Higginson, Editor, Tokyo, Japan & New York, NY: Kodansha International, 1996); Place of the Long River: A Connecticut River Anthology of Poetry and Prose with Views from the Source to the Sound (Jim Lee, Editor and Master Printer, Glastonbury, CT: Blue Moon Press, 1995); A Haiku Path: The Haiku Society of America, 1968-1988 (HSA Twentieth Anniversary Book Committee, New York, NY: Haiku Society of America, 1994); Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku (Bruce Ross, Editor, Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle & Company, Inc., 1993); Five Connecticut Poets: Joseph Payne Brennan, Gerene Freeman, Richard Geller, Robert Shaw, and Wally Swist (Albert Calhan, Editor, Hamden, CT: Connecticut Fireside Press, 1975).      Broadsides: "Ode to Elizabeth Park" (Glastonbury, CT: Blue Moon Press, forthcoming, 2011); "For Walt Whitman" (Fulton, MO: Timberliine Press, 2010); "To Psyche" (Northampton, MA: Drive-By Poets, 2008); "Putting Up the Mailbox" (Fulton, MO: Timberline Press, 2007); "The Energy Level" (Northampton, CT: Drive-By Poets, 2005); "Heron" (Hartford, CT: Hartford Public Library, 2003); "Accompaniment" (Easthampton, MA: Adastra Press, 2003); "In You" (Jamaica, VT: Bull Thistle Press, 1995); "old man sweeping" [3 Haiku] (Richmond, MA: Mad River Press, 1988).      Essays: The Friendship of Robert Frost and Robert Francis: High-pressure Weather and Country Air (Puckerbrush Press, Constance Hunting, Editor, Orono, ME: Puckerbrush Review, xxi, ii, Winter/Spring 2003). Mountain by John Wills (Raw Nervz Haiku, Dorothy Howard, Editor, Aylmer, Quebec, Canada: Proof Press, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1998). The Conclusion of the Grail Legend, Trout Fishing, and the Art of Writing Haiku Poetry (Ocolind iazul/Round the Pond, Antologie de/An Anthology by Ion Codrescu, Constanta, Romania, Editura Muntenia, 1994). Tuning Fork on the Sidewalk of Dreams: Bert Meyers's The Wild Olive Tree & The Blue Cafe (Praises, Richard Jones, Editor, Chicago, IL: Poetry East, Number Thirty-Four, Fall 1992).

Selected Work
the farther into it,
the farther it moves away—
spring mist
deep bend in the brook
    the kingfisher's chatter
after its dive
soothing rain:
the mown meadow releases
pungence of mint
dewy morning:
the logging truck's load
sweating sap
thunder rumbles in the distance
    drenched kitchen screens dry
mesh by mesh
the flatbed of baled hay
rocks with the tractor's pull
Indian summer

Credits: "the farther into it" - The 2011 Haiku Calendar (Snapshot Press, 2010); "soothing rain" - Museum of Haiku Literature (Tokyo) Award, Frogpond XIII:2 (1990); "thunder rumbles in the distance" - The Haiku Anthology (W. W. Norton, 1999); "deep bend in the brook" - Haiku: Ancient and Modern (Tuttle Publishing, 2002); "dewy morning" - The Haiku Anthology (W. W. Norton, 1999); "the flatbed of baled hay" - The Haiku Anthology (W. W. Norton, 1999).

Back To Top