Susan Swartwout is the author of the poetry book Odd Beauty, Strange Fruit, chapbooks Freaks and Uncommon Ground, editor of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors 1–5, and co-editor of Hurricane Blues: Poems About Katrina and Rita, Real Things: An Anthology of Popular Culture in Poetry, and A Student’s Guide to Publishing.
Her awards include St. Louis Poetry Center's Stanley Hanks Award, Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, Governor’s Award, and the Davenport Award for Fiction. She is Professor Emerita of English–Writing and has also worked for 29 years as an editor and 16 years as a university-press publisher.
The Value of Support
"The value of support is life-changing. With the award, I was finally, finally able to buy a computer. I was a divorced mother, working my way through graduate school, and my professional writing instrument for class papers and poetry submissions was a beige plastic, portable typewriter. To revise, I’d have to retype the entire work, not dismal with a short poem but egregious for a 25-page graduate paper. Both my creative and scholarly writing increased exponentially, as did my publications. The second boost was the in-print honor of receiving this prize. It has spotlighted me throughout my entire career—to acquisitions editors, university search committees, writers groups, promotion committees. The final element was the most life-changing. I was sent by the Foundation to New York City, where I met publishers and authors—both emerging in their careers and holy cow, I’m at a party with That Famous Author! I’ve never forgotten being part of that august group. Though celebrity may come and go, like authors at New York City parties, the real impact was personal. I began to think, I’m here because I’m a good writer. At last I began to believe that as a writer I have value."