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The Tiger Iris, BOA Editions, Ltd. 1999. Poetry.
Moving easily between the natural world and the world of human nature, The Tiger Iris is a collection of poems of bittersweet beauty. Dedicated to Swift’s mother, The Tiger Iris explores her life and death in poignant and affectionate poems. Complementing these are the poems based on events in Swift’s own life, stretching from her home in the Northwest to the Gulf of Finland. Rich and emotionally complex, The Tiger Iris is a testament to Swift’s ability to transform ? in Madeline DeFrees’ words ? “reverses into poems of astonishing beauty and strength. Featured poems from The Tiger Iris:

Kathy Waltzes with Mr. Nakamura


Intricate Moves, Poems About Rape, Chicory Blue Press, 1997. Poetry.
In this chapbook, Swift has collected those poems written immediately after being raped in 1970 which appeared in the now out-of-print book Parts of Speech. With them she has joined those written after the 1983 trial of the rapist for the rape and murder of another woman whose name was also Joan. This second group of poems, which was published in The Dark Path of Our Names, interprets the trial, in which she testified for the prosecution, from the points of view of the various witnesses. The book also includes two previously unpublished essays as well as several new poems, describing how she had never been able to erase the act and its consequences from her memory. The book tells a story in both poetry and prose. Featured poem from Intricate Moves:



The Dark Path of Our Names, Dragon Gate, 1985. Poetry.
Part I of The Dark Path of Our Names deals with the poet’s life, past and present: her grandparents, her parents’ divorce, the coal-mining country of her girlhood, her husband and daughters, her travels and observations of the natural world. In Part II, Testimony, twelve poems describe the utterance of some participant in a rape and murder trial in Oakland, California, in which the poet herself was a prosecution witness. Featured poems from The Dark Path of Our Names:


Also by Joan Swift:

Parts of Speech
(Confluence Press, 1978. Poems.
Out of Print)

Brackett’s Landing
( 1975. Prose.
Out of Print)

This Element
(Alan Swallow, 1965. Poems. Out of Print).

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