Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Stunning Wankery from Canada: Todd the Swift

I'm not ready to crown a winner yet for our "Biggest Tool in Poetry" jubilee (see below), but I want to pause to note some truly stunning toolishness from one Todd the Swift. I wrote about this guy earlier when I described the Worst Anthology Ever -- which Swift helped edit -- a shit-heap declaring a new generation of "fusion poets" who unite the ever-chummy worlds of Anglophone poetry. In other words, Swifty Todd and his two-bit Canadian cronies were feeling a little penis envy toward their big brothers to the south, and, in an effort to imply that their mere presence in an anthology with American poets meant they were not really big-frog-in-a-small-pond wannabes, published Short Fuse, an anthology celebrating slam "poets" side-by-side with what the editors insist on calling "flat poets"--a phrase which I initially took to refer to lady poets with tiny boobs, but which turns out to mean all poets who are not slam poets. Only problem is: the sole American poet in this turd-tome who anyone has heard of is Ron Silliman, and Ron's not exact reserved about pimping his LangPoop.

I'm not kidding about this shit: go look at the book yourself. Well, now it turns out that Todd the Swift has a second anthology of Fusion poetry called Poetry Nation: The North American Anthology of Fusion Poets. Oh great, just what the poetry world needs: more "fusion" with Canadians. But there's one thing that publishing anthologies full of crap will do for you, which is earn you friends in low places. Like Salon.com, for example, where Swift has a piece of spoken word voiced-over music, which harkens back to those halcyon days when beret-clad, proto-goth rebels would chant their verses over equally loathsome bongos and sitars. If you want to hear something that defines new depths of pretension and melodrama, go check it out.

But what's really stunning is Todd's website. This came up in our "Biggest Tool" thread, but I want to promote this on the front page so none of you miss this truly vomit-wrenching display of self-aggrandisement. It's called the "Official Web Site of Todd Swift" (where are the unofficial ones?) First of all, you know those little banners that news sites use to promote headlines? These are the things made to resemble ticker tape, where top stories or stock quotes will scroll by for your perusal. Well Swift has one to greet us at his site, and it reads: "'Philip Larkin, Dylan Thomas and Paul Muldoon rolled into one' -- Kevin Higgins." Yup, it's nice to know Todd has such a modest regard for himself. And who the fuck is Kevin Higgins? Somewhat below that, he has a moody-looking picture of himself clutching his hair with the caption "Portrait of the artist as a young man." At the top of the page, is another picture, this one apparently intended to remind us of the kind of genius Swift resembles: it's that famous picture of Orson Wells chewing on his pipe as he stares us down. On the left side of the page, we find links to pages of totally unknown people saying incredible things about his books. He manages to find flunkies to compare him to Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams, and Allen Ginsberg, and he has the gall to publish the quotes from total unknowns in long catalogues
on his site. But Todd's a poet, so at least it's all for art, right? Lest we think Swift has anthing in mind but poetry, I'll leave you with this quote, also found on Todd's site: "Swift is at once both [sic] charming, witty and brilliantly razor-tongued, and would make the ideal radio guest or print media interview subject. Book him while you can!"

Don't forget to vote in our poll below.


Blogger R.C. Bald said...

Friends, who, you say, is Kevin Higgins? The doppleganger of Mr. Swift, I haver, as evidenced by an equally ludicrous monument to his own ego (which itself appertains like a cockleburr, friends, as uselessly engaged with its target) located at www.kevinhiggins.net. Fascinating, truly, if only because I never knew my fecal matter possessed the capacity for speech, let alone the ability to construct a web site directed at said speech.

1:02 PM, June 21, 2005  
Blogger R.C. Bald said...

I say, chappies, for yet another glimpse into the world of Swift, consult this address: www.nthposition.com/choco-tacocreamyburger.php. This "poem" was chosen by nth position's esteemed poetry editor, T. Swift, & speaks, I believe, friends, to the true extent of his abject & offensive strain of unrepentant idiocy.

2:18 PM, June 21, 2005  
Blogger Ginger Pennebaker said...

"A poet with such sexy bravado" - Diana Fitgerald Bryden (National Post):

This is the message now flashing from the ticker of Swift's website into the pained recesses of my eyes. Todd's website is like a cesspool of self-important Torys congratulating themselves for throwing another tonne of rabbit poop into the Ganges. It is like a strawberry with a blemish that thinks it's a slice of foi gras. But his publicist is with "Woolf + Lapin." That sounds so sexy! That has so much bravado! He has a "press kit!" It has publicity shots that I can use to do cum-shots on! Groovy! Seven different faces of love! Click on an image to view the 300 dpi version! Then cum on it! Yay! Everybody wins! What exclamations! Todd Swift lives in England! That's so sexy! But he has lived in Budapest! Even more sexy. Cum one cum all! He's from Motreal so that almost makes him French! Cum on a near-Frenchman. Cum on a jetsetting cosmopolite! Cum on a poet today!

3:26 PM, June 21, 2005  
Blogger Snark said...

It was difficult for me to resist calling this post "Big Head Todd and the Monster Web-site."

4:28 PM, June 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on the Poetry Snark man for cumming on the pictures of Todd Swift, which is bad bad thing although wife of Todd Swift is lucky woman! He does work for Oxfam which helps homeless and heroin addicts who want to sell second-hand clothes.

4:38 PM, June 24, 2005  
Anonymous Maple Leaf Love said...

I LIKE fusion with Canadians! Send in the Canadians! Poetry Snark, you don't know what you're missing!

12:51 AM, June 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember the episode of Seinfeld where George's mother recommends he masturbate in public because at least he'd be good at it and might make a living? She obviously meant Todd Swift.

5:32 PM, June 25, 2005  
Blogger Todd Swift said...

I am honoured to be snarked - as it means I am sort of a sacred cow. Indeed.
I note the continuous use of coprophiliacal abuse heaped on me by your "wits" is aptly reminiscent of my ancestor's own satire.
However, being accused of wankery by the likes of you seems rather preposterous, as your site is a simulacrum of the sort of egotistical effrontery that can claim my reviews are from a series of poets no has ever heard of.
Well, anyone who reads poetry will have heard of the chap whose quote regarding Ginsberg you cite - he won the TS Eliot prize last year.
I think you're just jealous that I have an agent, and don't mind making ironic references to Citizen Kane in my publicity. I'm afraid my site's over-the-top satire of publishing's vain and pretentious foppery was lost on you - maybe because you're too busy lying in the toilet looking up at the turds.

7:17 AM, June 26, 2005  
Blogger bill blood said...

By your ancestors, do you mean Tim Horton?

And by the by, one could only be jealous of you, Mr. Swift, for that anatomical anomaly you possess--that of two assholes-- the anus common to us all-- and the second-- your anus looking face and assy poetry, ass gangster pony ass ass faster.

begone, canuck

no one cares about you

no one knows who you are

BLOOD only longs for two assholes
to experience the double pleasure
of dual sodomy and heaven's golden ladder
of pee pee filling his pink BAG

now, go to the CN tower and chew a goalie, for there there is more honest experience of the world than in your self-ironizing web-site and brilliant orgy of hilarious referentiality.

Todd Swift. TODD. TODD Swift. Todd tooooodddd TOOOD TODD TODD Swift. Todd. TODD TODD TODD

That's the noise of my butt plug coming out
along with the sweet wiff of your words


12:17 PM, June 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The asshole through which Todd Swift pours forth his torrent of shit is at once both charming, witty and brilliantly razor-tongued, and would make the ideal radio guest or print media interview subject. Book Todd Swift's torrent of shit-spouting asshole while you can!

4:00 PM, June 26, 2005  
Blogger steve barron said...

Ah, the scales fell from my ass as I realized that our Mr Swift was only 'satirizing publishing's vain and pretentious foppery'. Who'd have thunk he fancied himself the Mark Kostabi of the poetry world? Who'd have thunk? Who'd have thunk? For reals, who'd have thunk? You just don't get it, bro, this is like all postmodern and shit. The man is as free and innocent of complicity as a newborn prozac pill.

7:20 AM, June 27, 2005  
Blogger BlueTattoo said...

Someone told me I was mentioned in a comment here, so I took a look...sure enuff, there is my blog link. However, in cruising this fantastic place I have discovered many talented musings about many interesting subjects....including one TODD SWIFT.

I visited his shrine...oops, WEBSITE...and I must thank you, Poetry Snark, for the best laugh I've had in a loooonnnng while.

8:37 PM, July 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please please Todd Swift let me join the holy church of women poets featured on your blog, nubile young bardettes whose only desire is to minister to the sacred Toddness of the Swift, to minister to his sacred flame, and mop up the gushing spunk of his epic self-esteem, for HE IS THE TODD and HE IS THE SWIFT and woe unto them would dare to question his sacred majesty.

4:59 PM, September 10, 2005  
Blogger John Stiles said...

Talking about Canadian Poets...
Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton and now... David McGimpsey, Sherwin Tjia, Paul Vermeersch, Karen Solie, Ken Babstock. Poet Todd Swift is to be admired for his ability to get things done and to bring people together. How easy is it to get people interested in poetry? How easy is it to set up a Blog? How easy is it to criticize and complain?

3:02 AM, October 05, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swift's blogspot reports that major British literary figures have been asked to list the ten books they think children should read at school. He gives Andrew Motion's list and gives it the Swift seal of approval (a relief, no doubt, to Motion). Then he adds, 'If I'd been asked, mine might have been...' as if he himself is a major literary figure and was not asked merely by an oversight. Moreover his list is disingenuous because it contains no book by Todd Swift - and what are the chances of that?

2:30 AM, February 01, 2006  

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