In his 1976 ground-breaking anthology The Prose Poem, Michael Benedikt selected Brian Swann among those young writers making their mark in the genre. Since then, Swann has been called “A daring writer; an explosive writer whose willingness to take risks has left his fiction in good stead’ (Small Press Book Club Selection), and whose “impressive body of work” in “fascinating cerebral territory” seeks a “reader of great mental agility” (Library Journal). G.E.Murray in the American Book Review wrote that Swann’s writing “deals with something completely different, something spanking new [that] charts new metaphysical waters,” calling him “a futurist in pursuit of the self’s ancient news,” while Robert Coover termed Swann “an absurdist who actually is one,” a writer “unique in contemporary fiction: startling, comic, cutting, spare.”
Brian Swann’s previous collection, Dogs on the Roof (MadHat Press, 2016), was praised by Jackson Lears for being “venturesome, witty, delightedly understated and frequently compelling,” while Andrei Codrescu, calling it “an elegant suit of a variety of threads,” placed it on his “A-list of the blooming philosophical hybrids of the last decade.” The San Antonio Express-News said that it was “a fascinating miscellany … replete with brilliant observations … insightful, witty and outlandishly entertaining.”
The present collection ranges from “real” to “surreal,” from long short stories to short short stories, to prose-poems long and short, concluding with an essay on the sacred. The book stretches from New York and New Mexico to Italy and England, with a cast of characters that includes a gifted dwarf, hippies, Navajos, and the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles, as well as a talented parrot, a talking robin, a shaggy dog, a neurotic horse and a law case involving rats. There is also a cameo appearance by the soul.