The Tall Lighthouse
marc swan

we are pleased to announce the publication

of marc's second collection simple distraction

marc's poetry imparts a cool sensibility on the everyday -  writing

of small revelations & astute recollections his poems are at once both

personal & universal. marc swan is a vocational rehabilitation counselor

living in Portland Maine whose poems have found an international audience

with work published in the small press throughout the US, & in Canada,

Europe, Japan, Australia & New Zealand.(copies of his first collection

in a distinct minor key are still available- please scroll down the page)



62pp ISBN 978 1 904551 63 8 £7 / $10

Steadfast but never predictable, the poems in simple distraction

engage the reader on a helter skelter journey over the past 40 years.

simple distraction provides the satisfactions of superb work

                                                                      - James Roderick Burns

orders from United States

simple distraction $13 inc p&p

orders from UK & rest of the World

simple distraction £7 inc p&p


maybe from simple distraction

a simple phone call

to her office

hell o    you were on my mind

happy new year

seems easy enough

but what if later

after she's had a few drinks

with that older

man she travels with

the one with the town car

the one old enough

to be her grandfather

she says is just a friend

who owns a trendy

seafood joint by the sea

leased a metallic teal

green firebird

with her name on it

gives her money

to help out

the mom with three kids

she's so fond of

what if after those drinks

probably a half bottle

of clos du bois merlot

her favorite

he prefers martinis

with olives    no vermouth

what if she gets frisky

calls me at home

a simple hell o

you were on my mind

happy new year

what if i've gone to the store

for ice    chips for my kid

sanitary pads

for the woman i live with

maybe i'll wait till next week

when we plan to meet

at my office for an update

on her life    those kids

she thinks so much of

the old guy with the fat car

martini eyes    money to burn


in a distinct minor key

30pp ISBN 978 1 904551 28 7


Marc Swan's brave and edgy poems keep faith,

keep pushing the envelope - Michael Laskey

orders from United States

in a distinct minor key $7.50 inc p&p


orders from UK & rest of the World

in a distinct minor key £4












Azure Night from in a distinct minor key


She flies down the gutter on her belly,

head high, bright red sleeve frayed

and snarling at the wind.

This is not a game, but a chance

encounter with a remarkable ending.

She is barely injured, a tear

in the flesh of her forearm, cracked

bone. It will mend easily

as the red sleeve. I carry

her unaware of eighty-five pounds

in my two arms to a rickety slip

where a man in a Redskins cap

jauntily tilted back off his wide

forehead greets us, directs me

to a cabin where she will rest

while he steers this ancient Chris

Craft over the tumbling water

of Puget Sound. I know his voice,

the tone, the way he says he  she.

I think of his last book of poems,

sharing pages with Chekhov,

of his last ten years.  Pure Gravy,

he said. And don't forget it.

From this momentary earthly

interlude he will soon return

to the infinite writing retreat

in the sky with Fante, Bukowski,

Breece D'J Pancake to name a few.


More Poetry Review of Simple Distraction

This is a poet whose themes and interests; women, wine, love, jazz, blues, cars, war, the country – and countries – run like an illuminating thread through his pages. There’s loss, death, sadness, the feelings raw, never self-indulgent nor intellectualised, but containing a tough, wry acceptance of happenstance. His work has a punchy North American feel; a ‘beat-the-shit Gibson’ ... ‘like it’s Fourth of July.’ (November 22nd, 1963) ‘In a friend’s ’69 El Camino on a San Diego cliff...’ (Amazing Grace), and his language, ‘usage’ not ‘use’, ‘natural’ not ‘naturally,’ (even mentioning, in passing, ‘the clipped British way’). The emphasis, as in most contemporary poetry, is always the narrative – there are verse-less blocks of story – often in the present historic (largely a cop-out in prose fiction, rarely in poetry) which complements and strengthens his work. The images are simply and clearly stated, never over poeticised, thus all the more telling: ‘a winter’s breath from the stars...’ ‘a cast of hawks...’ (Stargazer), ‘In the land far east of my beliefs.’ (Wild Bird). I have my favourites: Small Movements, Borderline, Stargazer, One Way Ride, Outlaw. This is a filmic collection, like a story board for a fine road move called American Exotica.

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