[Where the author writes about himself in the third person]
Jeff Schwaner is the author of six books of poems and two novels. He was an independent bookseller for ten years in Boston, Portland, Ithaca, and Charleston, edited two alternative newspapers and in 2000 co-founded Booksurge LLC, offering on-demand fulfillment to self publishers and small publishers. After Amazon purchased Booksurge in 2005, he moved to Virginia to work for LexisNexis, where he managed a motley crew of editors in the desktop publishing unit. Jeff now works as the Content Coach for The News Leader in Staunton, Virginia, where he and his family make their home within a drone’s throw of the Blue Ridge mountains.
[About translations from the English]
What the heck are translations from the English? Well, it’s the title of a recently published book of poems. It’s the title of a poem in that collection. It’s also about an ongoing investigation that really started when I found the most comprehensive translation of Tomas Transtromer’s work in English, The Great Engima, translated by Scottish poet Robin Fulton. I had long been a fan of TT, and I found that even in “bad” translations or in the cases where I could compare translations–say, by Fulton and by American poet Robert Bly and by May Swenson, and so on–and find vast differences in the word choice and feel of the poem, that those poems were still somehow working for me as Transtromer’s poems. Strange. It got me thinking about the whole question of translation–the translation of an idea for a poem in one’s head, half wordless, half anticipation of words in fact, to a “draft,” to a “final” version–and on to the reader, where the translation from the English really begins…
[About this site]
So this site is a place where you can explore that idea, at least through my writing and poems. Obviously it is a place where, after many years of writing as an entirely private gesture, these poems are now available to a larger audience, for better or worse.
Most of my work is available in print through the Books page of the site.
You’ll also find free PDF versions of each of the last three books of poetry, and while I’d certainly love to sell zillions of books of verse, I encourage you to download the free PDFs and enjoy the work in that way as well.
I will also be posting news of new publications and readings and other collaborations, random thoughts on my favorite writers and literary happenings. I’ll be throwing out the occasional poem not yet collected in any book, as well as new stuff, which may or may not be in the final form it will eventually have in the next book.
I am not promising that I won’t just throw in a photo of one of my pets for the heck of it now and then. Or a rock. I like rocks.
Other pesky details
I studied English at Cornell University and Boston University, where I managed to attend classes and workshops taught by A.R. Ammons, Kenneth McClane, Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott and Olga Broumas, among others. I spent a few years creating letterpress books and broadsides, then moved into that nomadic existence known as independent bookselling mentioned above. I spent several years in Charleston, South Carolina editing two alternative newspapers and one literary journal.