George Swede

George Swede

George Swede ( _lv. Juris Švēde), (born as "Juris Puriņš", November 20, 1940 in Riga, Latvia) is a Canadian poet and children's writer who lives in Toronto, Ontario. He is a major figure in English-language haiku, known for his wry, poignant observations:

::thick fog lifts ::unfortunately, I am where ::I thought I was

::at the height ::of the argument the old couple ::pour each other tea

::flooded plain ::fence tops show which water ::belongs to whom

::windowless office::a fly buzzes against::my glasses

::ocean sunset::he whispers something::and her earrings glow

::wilderness canyon::my shout and its echo::quickly lost in time

::leaving my loneliness inside her

::night begins to gather between her breasts

::at the edge of the precipice I grow logical

Swede's corpus also includes variations on the haiku, such as:

::storm cLOUDs

::stars crickets



A selection of Swede's earlier work has been collected in the volume "Almost Unseen" (Brooks Books, 2000) ISBN 0913719994. In 2008 he became editor of "Frogpond", the journal of the Haiku Society of America. [ [ About HSA & Frogpond] ]

Swede has also published tanka:

::If only years ago::I had seen myself more clearly--::the weight of many snowfalls::bends the juniper branch::to the ground

::Department meeting:::while mouths utter business::the eyes ripple with::someone sailing, someone fishing::someone drowning

::Electrochemical::the memory of who::I am, I was--such thoughts::on the path home with a ::fading flashlight beam

A selection of his tanka has been gathered in "First Light, First Shadows" (Snapshot Press, 2006)ISBN 9781903543191.

Free verse and concrete poetry are also part of Swede's oeuvre.

::Needle & Thread::With this pen::the needle::and these words::the thread::every day::I mend::the new holes::I find::in my head


::I put the sun::in your cheeks::the deep blue sky::in your eyes

::And now you want::to be a nice day::for someone else?

::Just wait till I do::my raindance!

::You won't have a chance!

::M SS NG::Thiiief!

Many of these poems appear in "I Want To Lasso Time" (Simon & Pierre, 1991) ISBN 0889242348 or ISBN 9780889242340.


*"Unwinding" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Missing Link, 1974)
*"Tell-tale Feathers" (Fredericton, N. B., Canada: Fiddlehead, 1978) ISBN 0-920110-56-8
*"Endless Jigsaw" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1978) ISBN 0-88823-015-X
*"A Snowman, Headless" (Fredericton, N. B., Canada: Fiddlehead, 1979) ISBN 0-920110-84-3
*(ed.), "Canadian Haiku Anthology" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1979) ISBN 0-88823-017-6
*"Wingbeats" (La Crosse, WI, USA: Juniper, 1979)
*"As Far As The Sea Can Eye" (Toronto, ON, Canada: York, 1979) ISBN 0-920424-16-3
*"The Case of the Moonlit Goldust" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1979) ISBN 0-88823-038-9 Illustrated by Danielle Jones
*"This Morning's Mockingbird" (Battle Ground, IN, USA: High/Coo, 1980) ISBN 0913719463; ISBN 978-0913719466
*"The Case of the Missing Heirloom" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1980) ISBN 0888230273 Illustrated by Danielle Jones
*with Anita Krumins, "Quillby, The Porcupine Who Lost His Quills" (Toronto: Three Trees Press, 1980) ISBN 0-88823-019-2 Illustrated by Martin Lewis
*"Eye to Eye with a Frog" (La Crosse, WI, USA: Juniper, 1981)
*"The Case of the Seaside Burglaries" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1981) ISBN 0-88823-044-3 Illustrated by Danielle Jones
*"The Modern English Haiku" (Toronto: Columbine Editions, 1981) ISBN 0-919561-00-4 Illustrated by Aiko Suzuki
*"All of Her Shadows" (Battle Ground, IN, USA: High/Coo, 1982) ISBN 0913719552; ISBN 978-0913719558
*"The Case of the Downhill Theft" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1982) ISBN 0-88823-049-4 Illustrated by Paul Kantorek
*"Binary Poem" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Curvd H&Z, 1982)
*"Undertow" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1982) ISBN 0-88823-050-8
*"Biased Sample" (Toronto: The League of Canadian Poets, 1982)
*"Tick Bird: Poems for Children" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1983) ISBN 0-88823-064-8 Illustrated by Katherine Helmer
*"Frozen Breaths" (Glen Burnie, MD, USA: Wind Chimes, 1983)
*(ed.), "Cicada Voices: Selected Haiku of Eric Amann 1966-1979" (Battle Ground, IN, USA: High/Coo, 1983) ISBN 0-913719-25-0
*"Flaking Paint" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Underwhich, 1983)
*"Bifids" (Toronto, ON Canada: CURVD H&Z, 1984)
*"Night Tides" (London, ON, Canada: South Western Ontario Poetry, 1984) ISBN 0919139191; ISBN 978-0919139190
*"Time Is Flies: Poems for Children" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1984) ISBN 0-88823-090-7 Illustrated by Darcia Labrosse
*"Dudley and the Birdman" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1985) ISBN 0-88823-102-4) Illustrated by Gary McLaughlin
*"Dudley and the Christmas Thief" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1986) ISBN 0-88823-123-7 Illustrated by Allan and Deborah Drew-Brook-Cormack
*"High Wire Spider: Poems for Children" ((Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1986) ISBN 0-88823-111-3 Illustrated by Victor Gad
*with Eric Amann, LeRoy Gorman, "The Space Between" (Glen Burnie, MD, USA: Wind Chimes, 1986) ISBN 0-941190-16-1
*"I Eat a Rose Petal" (Aylmer, QC, Canada: Haiku Canada, 1987)
*"Multiple Personality" (North Vancouver, BC, Canada: Silver Birch, 1987)
*"Leaping Lizard: Poems for Children" (Stratford, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1988) ISBN 0-88823-136-9 Illustrated by Kimberley Hart
*with jwcurry, "Where Even the Factories Have Lawns" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Gesture, 1988) ISBN 0-920585-12-4
*"I Throw Stones at the Mountain" (Glen Burnie, MD, USA: Wind Chimes, 1988)
*"Holes in My Cage: Poems for Young Adults" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Three Trees, 1989) ISBN 0-88823-147-4
*(ed.),"The Universe is One Poem: Four Poets Talk Poetry" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Simon & Pierre, 1990) ISBN 0-88924-224-0
*"I Want to Lasso Time" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Simon & Pierre, 1991) ISBN 9780889242340
*"Leaving My Loneliness" (Pointe Claire, QC, Canada: King's Road Press, 1992) ISBN 1-895557-03-8
*(ed.),"There will Always be a Sky" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Nelson Canada, 1993) ISBN 0-17-604273-3
*"Creativity. A New Psychology" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Wall & Emerson, 1993) ISBN 1-895131-11-1
*"The Psychology of Art : An Experimental Approach" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Canadian Scholar's, 1994) ISBN 1-55130-036-2
*with George Amabile, Leonard Gasparini, Seymour Mayne, and Ted Plantos, "Five O'Clock Shadows" (Toronto, ON, Canada: Letters Bookshop, 1996) ISBN 0-921688-13-x
*"My Shadow Doing Something" (Enfield, CT, USA: Tiny Poems, 1997)
*"bugs" (Napanee, ON, Canada: pawEpress, 1998)
*(ed. with Randy Brooks, "Global Haiku: Twenty-Five Poets World-Wide" (New York, NY, USA: Mosaic, 2000) ISBN 0-88962-713-4
*(ed. with Eva Tomaszewska, trans,"Antologia Haiku Kanadyjskiego" /"Canadian Haiku Anthology" (Krakow, Poland: Wydawnictswo Krytiki Artsitycznej Miniatura, 2003) ISBN 83-7081-447-6
*"Almost Unseen: Selected Haiku" (Decatur, IL, USA: Brooks Books, 2000) ISBN 0-913719-99-4
*"First Light, First Shadows" (Liverpool, UK: Snapshot Press, 2006) ISBN 1-903543-19-3; ISBN 978-1-903543-19-1

ome mentions, interviews, reviews

*BBC Radio 3, Close to Silence, Aug. 25, 1994
*BCTV, Japan Air Lines Haiku Contest for B.C. Schoolchildren, June 8, 1987
*"Books in Canada": Jan., 1979; Dec., 1980; 11:10, 1982; 12:5, 1983; 13:10, 1984; 18:3, 1989
*"Canadian Children's Literature": No. 22, 1981; No. 41, 1986; No. 44, 1986; No. 55, 1989; No. 59, 1990; No. 67, 1992
*"Canadian Literature": No. 104, 1985; No. 111, 1986; No. 168, 2001; No. 183, 2004
*CBC Radio: Take 30, Cross-Country Canada, Morning Program, Mar., 1970; Arts National, May 20, 1980; Morningside, Nov. 14, 1984; Viki Gabreau Show, June 5, 1989
*"Children's Book News": 6:2, 1983; 7:4, 1985; 8:3, 1985; 10:4, 1988; 11;4, 1989; 12:2, 1989; 14:3, 1991
*CJRT FM: Contemporary Canadian Poets Series-- Mar. 20, 1980; Jan.5 & Jan. 12, 1984
*CTV: Romper Room, May 27, 1986
*"Fredericton Daily Gleaner", Sep.2, 1978
*"Globe and Mail": Mar. 17 & Mar. 20, 1970; Mar. 27, 1982; Feb. 7, 1987;
*"Halifax Herald," Jan.28, 2001
*"London Times Weekend," Aug. 19, 2000
*"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel," Apr. 1, 2001
*"Modern Haiku": 10:2, 1979; 10:3, 1979; 11:1, 1980; 11:3, 1980; 13:3, 1982; 14:3, 1983; 15:2, 1984; 15:3, 1984; 16:2, 1985; 18:1, 1987; 19:2, 1988; 21:2, 1990; 21:3, 1990; 23:2, 1992; 31:3, 2000
*"Montreal Gazette", May 15, 1989
*"New York Times Book Review", Mar. 29, 1987
*"Ottawa Citizen": June 23, 1983; Jan. 25, 1997; Dec. 3, 2000
*"Poetry Nippon": Nos. 47 & 48, 1979; Nos. 51 & 52, 1980; Nos. 73 & 74, 1986
*"Quill & Quire": Apr., 1981; Dec., 1981; Feb., 1986; July, 1990
*RTE, Quiet Quarter, Nov. 12-16, 2002
*"Toronto Star": Mar. 21, 1970; Dec. 6, 1980; Jan. 20, 1985; Aug. 31, 1986; May 2, 1991
*"Toronto Telegram": Mar. 20, 1969; Mar. 17, 1970
*"Tragaluz", 4:34, 2006
*TV Ontario, In Conversation With . . . Nov. 27, 1992
*"Wilson Quarterly", 21:4, 1997

ome awards and grants

*Ontario Arts Council Writer's Grants: 1978-82, 1984-86, 1989
*Ontario Arts Council Creative Artists in Schools Project Grants: 1988-89, 1991
*Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" Awards: 1984-85, 1987, 1991, 1992
*Canadian Children's Book Centre Selection for 10th Annual Book Festival Tour of Alberta. Nov. 2-29, 1986
*Golden State Bank Award, Second Annual International Yuki Teikei Haiku Contest, 1979
*Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Award, 1980
*Honorable Mention, Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards, 1979 (for "Wingbeats")
*Co-winner, 5th Annual High/Coo Press Mini-Chapbook Competition, 1982 (for "All of Her Shadows")
*Museum of Haiku Literature Award, 1983, 1985, 1992
*Runner-up, Wind Chimes Minibook Competition, 1988 (for "I Throw Stones at the Mountain")
*Second Prize, "Haiku Quarterly" Special Haiku Contest, 1989
*Third place, Poetry Society of Japan's Second International English Tanka Contest, 1990
*Honorable Mention, Haiku Society of America's H.G. Henderson Awards, 1990
*"Mirrors" International Tanka Award, 1990
*JAL Foundation Grant for Judging World Children's Haiku Contest in Japan, August 22-31, 1990
*First Prize, Free Style, "Mainichi Daily News" Haiku in English Contest, 1994
*Second Prize, "Mainichi Daily News" 125th Anniversary Haiku Contest, 1997
*Third Place, Haiku Society of America's H.G. Henderson Awards, 1997
*Japan Foundation Grant for tour of Japan, April 16-25, 1997
*Honorable Mention, Haiku Society of America's H.G. Henderson Awards, 2004
*First Prize, The Snapshot Press Tanka Collection Competition 2005 (for "First Light, First Shadows")
*Honorary Life Member, Haiku Canada, 2007

ome writerly offices

*Editor, "Frogpond: The Journal of the Haiku Society of America", 2008-
*Columnist, "Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry" (Online), 2005-2008
*Editorial Staff, Red Moon Press (Winchester VA), 2000-2008
*Judge (for haiku), The 2004 San Francisco International Haiku, Senryu and Tanka Contest, Haiku Poets of Northern California
*Judge, The Betty Drevniok Awards, Haiku Canada, 2002
*Judge (with Christopher Dewdney and Robert Priest), Seasons Nature Poetry Contest, Federation of Ontario Naturalists, 2002
*Board Member, Cancopy (now Access Copyright), Toronto, 1996-1997
*Chair, Membership Committee, The Writers' Union of Canada, 1993-1996
*Judge, Tanka Splendor 1997, AHA Books (Gualala, CA)
*Guest Editor, "Iron", Issue 76, Cullercoats, North Shields, Northumberland, England, 1995
*Judge (one of fourteen), Japan Air Lines World Children's Haiku Contest, Osaka, 1990
*Judge, Japan Air Lines Haiku Contest for B.C. Schoolchildren, Vancouver, 1987
*Editorial Staff, "Cross-Canada Writers' Quarterly", Toronto, 1982-1990
*Second Vice-President, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers, Toronto, 1983-1984
*Poetry Editor, "Poetry Toronto". 1980-1981
*Co-Founder (with Eric Amann and Betty Drevniok), Haiku Canada, 1977


*B.A. (Honours, Psychology), University of British Columbia, 1964
*M.A. (Psychology), Dalhousie University, 1965

Brief work history and some highlights

*Psychology Interne, B.C. Penitentiary, Summer, 1964
*Instructor, Psychology Department, Vancouver City College (now Langara College), 1966-1967
*School Psychologist, Scarborough Board of Education, Toronto, 1967-1968
*Member, Psychology Department, Ryerson University, 1968-2006
*Director, Developmental Psychology, Ryerson Open College (through CJRT-FM, CBC, CTV), 1970-1975
*Ryerson University Now (RUN), 1993-2000: A Toronto School Board/Ryerson University initiative to get bright, but disadvantaged students interested in going to university. For a taste of higher education, they took a credit course in introductory psychology from Professor Swede. Eventually, most did go to university, many on scholarships.
*Chair, Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, 1998-2003
*Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University, 2006
*Honorary Life Member, Canadian Psychological Association, 2007

ome personal details

*Married to Anita Krumins, Professor Emerita, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
*Two sons: Juris Krumins, a lawyer in Washington D.C., and Dr. Andris Krumins, an educator and musician in Oakville, Ontario
*Residence: Toronto

External links

* [ George Swede's web site]


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