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May Swenson

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 1 month ago

May Swenson 











   I was born (May 28th, 1919) and raised in Logan, Utah. English is my second language because in my home I


grew up speaking Swedish with my family. I went to school there all the way through college. I got my bachelor's


degree in 1939 at the Utah State University.




   Another Animal, the first book of my poems, was presented to the public in 1954. Soon after, in 1958, came


the book A Cage of Spines; then another in 1963, To Mix with Time New and Selected Poems.  Quit a bit of my


poetry after that was directed towards the youth.




   I published ten different collections of poetry and a book of translations of poems of Tomas Transtormer, a


Swedish poet. But I did a large variety of writing. I write on the natural world and some scientific research.






   I really love to write on love poetry and eroticism, most of all, I very much enjoy writing on lesbian sexuality.


Even though I said them in different categories in many cases nature and sexuality are on the same topic.


Fireflies, Dark Wild Honey, and Wednesday at The Waldorf are a few of my poems on sexuality and nature







   If you read my poetry you will see that much of it has to do with the west. Unlike many others who may be


inspired by another poet or just another person, I am truly and deeply inspired by the beauty of the west. On


the other hand John Anthony Ciardi, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Howard and Elizabeth Bishop were all found of


me as well was I of them.




   I have taught poetry at Bryn Mawr, University of North Carolina, University of California at Riverside, Purdue


University and (my school) Utah State University. From 1959 to 1966 I was an editor at New Directions






   Some of my poems were featured in The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, Paris Review, Carleton Miscellany,


Antaeus, The New Yorker, Parnassus and Poetry. In 1980 until 1989 I was Chancellor of The Academy of


American Poets.




Sleeping with Boa



By Me


I show her how to put her arms around me,



but she’s much too small.



What’s worse, she doesn’t understand.






although she lies beside me, sticking



out her tongue, it’s herself she licks.





She likes my stroking hand.






even lets me kiss.



But at my demand:



“Now, do it to me, like this,”



she backs off with a hiss.





What’s in her little mind?



Jumping off the bed,



she shows me her behind,



but curls up on the rug instead.



I beg her to return. At first, she did,



then went and hid





under the covers. She’s playing with my feet!



“Oh, Boa, come back. Be sweet,



Lie against me here where I’m nice and warm.



Settle down. Don’t claw, don’t bite.



Stay with me tonight.”



Seeming to consent, she gives a little whine.





Her deep, deep pupils meet mine



with a look that holds a flood ...



But not my brand.



Not at all.






what‘s worse, she’s much too small.
















May Swenson



A Dear Friend and a Wonderous Poet



Passed away on December 4th 1989



She Will Always Remain in Our Hearts






Sources Cited












Created By Melissa

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