The Nights Also

This collection of poetry, published by Tightrope Books in 2010, explores the interplay of chronic illness, identity, sexuality and solitude. It won a Lambda Literary Award and the Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry.

“As meditations on illness, these are extraordinary—sad, undermining, and, sometimes, spiked with a sense of humour.” —Tim Lilburn

“There are the nights, yes, but in this startling debut collection ‘each day is a / thin steel catwalk of light’ and ‘the sun makes its arc across the mouth’ . . . Each word and image is freshly forged. The poems are smart, original, and daring, the footwork so assured that Anna Swanson dances with the future with no missteps. This is a strong new voice that reaffirms my faith in the heartbeat and vision that poetry can give us.” —Lorna Crozier

“ ‘Oh dear body,” Anna Swanson writes in her impressive debut collection, “How did we get here?” How indeed? Throughout The Nights Also, Swanson asks: What does it mean to be frail and human. What is illness? Health? Gender? Memory? Love? And though Swanson doesn’t (thank God) arrive at any definitive answers, her skill and delight in exploring life’s mysteries and complexities are palpable. These poems—intelligent, passionate, and beautifully executed—announce the arrival of a gifted poet, one I hope we’ll be hearing from for years to come.” —Patricia Young

“Anna Swanson’s The Nights Also is a collection of poetry that reads like a satisfying whole, as it charts the feelings and thoughts that a person struggling with illness faces. Illness, as Sontag has observed, can be a metaphor – but it can also be a fact – and here, the poet handles the difficult, potentially bathetic subject matter expertly. At times lyrical, at times experimental, the poetry veers between comedy and philosophy, finding a powerful voice for truth-telling. The opening poem is beautiful, as is the last. In ‘Any Meaning’ she asks: “If illness was a child, will everyone ever love it enough?”. We found this collection exceptionally well-structured, with a moving, striking style – an impressive, humane debut.” — Judges’ comments for the Gerald Lampert Award

Buy the book

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However, since the book is out of print, you can try:

Borrow at a library

I’m a librarian. I’d be thrilled if you borrowed the book at your local library. If they don’t have it (or any book you want), you can request they purchase it.


Poet garners two awards for first effort, Vancouver Sun, August 12, 2011

Featured Poet: Anna Swanson, Eyewear Blog, June 17, 2011

Lowther, Lampert Winners Announced, Quill and Quire, June 14, 2011

Winners of the Pat Lowther & Gerald Lampert Memorial Awards Announced, Open Book Toronto, June 14, 2011

Canadians Honoured At Lambda Awards, The Book Buzz, Toronto Public Library’s Virtual Book Club, June 2, 2011

Canadians clean up at the Lambdas, Xtra! May 31, 2011

Canadian authors celebrated at the Lambda Awards, Quill & Quire May 27, 2011

First books of poems make fresh tracks, Winnipeg Free Press January 29, 2011