Three Crows Hunting
(and other poems about conflict)
Perfect Bound Softcover
In Three Crows Hunting, Szwed has selected poems he wrote about how he has felt and seen conflict. Biographical in many respects, this collection of poems cuts across his life, from the time the author left the U.S. Army after serving and being wounded in Viet Nam, until 2002. Through combat, recovery, divorces, marriages, substance abuse, a variety of jobs, raising a daughter, in sickness and in health, loving or fighting, Szwed's poems wrestle with how we get into and out of conflicts, and how we deal with it.
These poems demonstrate that we can not always say nice things in comfortably metered terms, nor need we always say hard things awkwardly or harshly. Through poignancy, wit, sarcasm, humor, plain speech, or mocking tirade, these poems challenge author and reader, alike, to look as squarely as possible at the real issues of personal responsibility and accountability; to take stock of the greater picture as well as common human sufferings. Szwed would have us remember that every power and entity is accountable.
The author refuses to be locked into a single style or form of poetic expression. Paraphrasing Joseph Grucci, the author's former poetry workshop instructor at The Pennsylvania State University, Szwed notes that all elements, including title, rhythms, color, and sentiment of a poem, should be organic and unique to the construction of the whole. At times there is an elemental shift within a poem that stops the reader to meditate on the mood change, or some clash of thoughts or feelings. This is part of how the author poetically recognizes natural struggles of our hearts and minds, in the best or worst of times or conflicts. Szwed's poems encourage readers to take heart that, in spite of our selves or circumstance, we can get through the trials of life; every soul matters.
The author's book "Pining from the Heat" is being concurrently published by 1stBooks Library.
What do we there on high?
in our own estimation;
presuming upon God's tolerance,
our dreams and testing,
A speck among God's works,
yet, beloved for Christ's sake,
we remain but human,
the same, 'til borne
upon His Spirit's wings.
4 P.M. Tea and Pierogis
Connecticut winter light,
on walls and warm brown wood,
a friendly Polish cafe
I am tired
of talk and questions
about the aftermath of war.
A delightfully silly nervous giggle,
a charmingly warm smile,
have won my weary heart.
My aching mind rests
in this womb-like haven.
I am quietly stuffed,
as were those dozen pierogis,
that have disappeared off my plate.
I am steeped, warmed,
as the tea trails slowly mixing
in this clear mug of almost boiling water.
This hiatus, squeezed into my day,
has added its fragrant lemony zest,
bleaching, mellowing the tannins
that had nipped at me all day.
Craig M. Szwed has written poetry since highschool in the 1960's. He has reworked and retained only that poetry which satisfies what he wants to say, in the manner he wants things said. His poems have been read and edited by friends and family, near and far, some of whom are teachers and writers who encouraged him to continue writing and to publish. Craig's poetry has been published in Once Upon a World (2001) and in Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (2003). In 2001, Craig self-published the compact disk "american haiku." To him, writing is the love of expression, the hope of being heard and understood; sharing common human things that may often feel too elusive for conversation.
Perfect Bound Softcover
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