ingrid swanberg

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ariadne & other poems

Ariadne & Other Poems is a high mountain stream, refreshing and exhilarating. Ingrid Swanberg invites her reader to love one's land, home, and creative potential as she loves the West and its high country, the “garden” inside her home where the plenitude of a calm house allows meditation and fruitful contemplation of the world around us, and the mysteries of ancient myths still present in our common spirituality. The reader participates in the obstinacy of absence, summer's golden eternity, mourning and the beauty of family, and always, the intensity and complexity of northern winters whose pure white light and velvet darkness polish the soul to a high, windy burnish.


      –– Andrea Moorhead, “Introduction,” Ariadne & Other Poems

Ingrid Swanbergʼs work has great range and versatility.  Her poetry is scrupulously clean, with the sharp definition of cut glass and a complete lack of pretense, useless ornament, posing, or posturing.  As a lyricist, she has a purity uncommon in North American poetry, and her work is perhaps more closely analogous to that of Juan Ramón Jiménez and Federico García Lorca.

      –– Karl Young, author of Days and Years, and editor-curator of The Light & Dust Anthology of Poetry

Itʼs so refreshing to read work thatʼs balanced, consistent and which does not go on and on about oneself but shows instead oneʼs true belonging to the natural world and to life itself. 

A very stunning collection, most beautifully produced by Bottom Dog Press, it should be said.

      –– Paul B. Roth, editor & publisher, The Bitter Oleander Press

Ingrid Swanberg has served American Poesy with her inimitable Ghost Pony Press and her near single-handed resuscitation of the proto-Beat Midwest poet d.a.levy. In Ariadne & Other Poems, she has created a body of poetry that invites contemplation of Ariadnean mazes and labyrinths, and through these, our own contemporary reparations. With an economy that mirrors the greatest spirit-minded poets of the World Poetics Timeline, her language has a pure lyrical radiance, a rare revolutionary emptiness. This poet went “trailing the shadows of the horses / thrown by the light below” and with each turn was led back to the earth. I thought humanity had lost the ability to locate the world in the way she does. I thought such precision of feminine laser word energy had gone extinct. Left the planet. Vivid heart, let me tell you, this is a work of beatitude.  

       –– Jim Cohn, Museum of American Poetics

Beside a lit candle in the Church of Santa Lucia in Venice, on the branch of a portable tree at a nurse’s station in Cedars of Lebanon, in the dawn over Dachau, in visitors’ centers at Lascaux and Altimira, then deep in the earth in the Hall of the Bulls, I would, and do, place this book of Ingrid Swanberg's poems, these victories, from the master of fire and reflection. 

      –– Tom Kryss, author of The Search for the Reason Why

It was Anais Nin who said that poetry was how she breathed, and this collection of very readable, accessible poems is an object lesson in how the breathing can be shared by the reader. Unlike so many modern poets, Swanberg is acutely aware of how the poems sound: sometimes little more than whispered fragments, they carry the weight of a dragonfly's wing or an oak tree with equal deftness, creating at one moment a misty aural miasma, at another a quietly brilliant clarity. But the poems are equally laced with meaning - sometimes intensely so. Particularly in the Ariadne section, the reader is enwrapped in themes of symbolic evocation that admirably - and powerfully - complement the sound that meaning is cast in. This is the first collection by a poet who has been publishing for many years, and it is a satisfying one. The hope is that it will be the first of many.

      –– Dan Shanahan, Charles University, Prague