Brian Swann was born in Wallsend, England, in 1940, graduated as Foundation Scholar in 1963 from Queens’ College, Cambridge, with a Double First in English and came to Princeton in 1964 as a Proctor Fellow. After two years, he left for Europe, before returning in 1968 as a Princeton National Fellow, earning a PhD in 1970, and becoming a U.S. citizen in 1980.
He has published many books in a number of genres, from poetry and fiction to children’s books, poetry in translation and Native American literature, the most recent of which is Sky Loom: Native American Myth, Story, and Song (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). He was founder and series editor of the Smithsonian Series of Studies in Native American Literatures and is founder and series editor of “Literatures of the Americas” for the University of Nebraska Press.
He has won a number of awards and prizes, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in fiction, the John Florio Prize for the best Italian translation published in the UK, and the Italo Calvino Award from Columbia University’s Translation Center. In addition he won the University of Alabama Press open poetry prize for The Middle of the Journey, the Ohio State University Press/The Journal prize for Autumn Road, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize for Snow House, and the Autumn House Poetry Prize for St. Francis and the Flies. In the fall of 2016, Sheep Meadow will publish his twelfth poetry collection, Companions, Analogies.
His work has appeared in many scholarly journals, such as English Literary History, Novel, and Nineteenth Century Fiction, as well as anthologies and literary magazines, including The New Republic, The New Yorker, Paris Review, Hudson Review, American Scholar, Poetry, Yale Review, Harvard Review, Partisan Review, Raritan, American Poetry Review, and Southern Review. His art work is represented by Pierogi Gallery in NYC. He has taught at Princeton and Rutgers and was director of the Bennington Writing Workshops for five years. He is Professor of Humanities at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City.