BIO: Retired teacher and resident of Madison since 1962, Richard Swanson has published two books of poetry, both through Fireweed Press: Not Quite Eden (2010), and Men in the Nude in Socks (2006), winner of the 2007 Posner Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, for the best full-length volume of poetry. Not Quite Eden contains wry looks at the process of aging and explores the relationships between body and mind. Men in the Nude in Socks also shows Richard’s talent for humor and occasionally delves into popular culture, with poems about Ted Williams and Barbie. Each of these quality paperbacks, 65-70 pages long, may be purchased from the author, checks payable to him, for $13, shipping included.

Richard takes pride in making poetry accessible to everyday audiences, and in making poetry readings thoughtful and entertaining.

A long-time peace advocate, Swanson has been developing a volume about the mind-sets surrounding war. He is also working on a series of poems about his experiences in Mexico, over more than two decades.

Not Quite Eden (Fireweed Press, 2010) - $13.00
Men in the Nude in Socks (Fireweed Press, 2006) - $13.00

Groggy, up off the bed, balls of the feet on the carpet,
he feels it, his weight veering forward
all by itself.

What are they doing, these knee things?

He’s there at the crest
the mountain's peak, ready for push-off
but he’s already moving.
Schuss time, whoopee and whoa.
Flap your arms in glee, he thinks,
or maybe you're trying to just stay upright?

Flex he’s got, more than he needs,
and his cartilage wants a trial separation.

Alert now fully? Got your wobbly bearings?
What a rush to start the day, a lark,
a thin-air fling, a giddy adventure caroming ahead.

Where could this lead?

—Richard Swanson


Hey, lookit!

These men in the nude in socks—
all pinko torso and hatchling-haired legs.
Are those bald spots on the backside
or rumps on top?
Gawd, get a snapshot,
get a guffawish gawk at
the gluteus maximus,
the muscle minima.
Remember the member-
ous droop and its stoop-
endous particulars.
Come, let us ga-ga this foldout,
slather our ardor at this
bare-boned dualped planted in argyles.
Observe, observe:

Herr Fashionable Fuzzy Foot,
dimples, moles, flabulous contours
a haunch to shame the showcase tapestries
of a meat market, oh there’s more . . .

No nothing more than the image
of men in the nude in their socks
and the point the image is for:

Men in the nude in socks do not make war.

—Richard Swanson