- Gives readings throughout Britain,
Europe and elsewhere, at festivals or one-off events.
- Runs workshops for adults and
children. Frequent tutor of Arvon Courses. Writer in Residence at
Arts Centres (South Bank Centre), Universities (UEA; Reading),
Poetry Festivals (Aldeburgh; Ledbury, Stanza) and other
organisations. Regular visitor of schools, both primary and
secondary, including International Schools around Europe.
- Experienced in cross-arts projects,
in the South Bank Centre, Barbican Centre, Tate Gallery and
elsewhere, working with composers, visual artists, filmmakers,
animators, jazz and rock musicians.
- Judge of Poetry Competitions on many
occasions, including the National Poetry Competition and the Cardiff
Open, but also many smaller competitions.
- Book reviews for the Observer,
Times Educational Supplement and Poetry London.
- Frequent involvement in radio
programmes for BBC and other organisations. Occasional television
and video work.
- Currently trying to finish a
long-delayed book of stories, and well into a new collection of
poems (many of which have been appearing in periodicals). There is also
another children's novel that is awaiting publication, and a half-written joint
novel, with John Hartley Williams - a satirical thriller, set in the
world of contemporary poetry.
Selected Poems (Cape,
2002); a variant of this published in Canada, in 2002, under the title
A Picnic on Ice by Signal Editions, Vehicule Press.
Up on the Roof: New and
Selected Poems (Faber, 2001)
A Smell of Fish (Cape, 2000)
The Bridal Suite (Cape, 1997)
Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange
(Faber, 1996); co-editor (with Jo Shapcott).
publication details here...
"Twenty five years'
work finds Sweeney at fifty with a rich trove of memorable, funny,
alarming poems whose very readability at times disguises their complexity.
Here is a poet who has never allowed himself to be distracted - a poet,
too, whose work all those of us who think we know it well had better read
Sean O'Brien, reviewing Sweeney's Selected Poems, Poetry London
'Funny, surreal, tender,
fantastic, earthy... '
"He is the true master
of secret narratives... one of the best poets around."
"He is probably the
best example of modern pan-Europeanism in poetry.... Poets will
unmistakably see its freshness, its diversity and its originality. And it
is exactly this fact that makes Sanctuary a must-read."
Nicolas Cobic, The Wolf
"Sweeney keeps returning to the
thought of how much we have to negate in our effort to be ourselves, to
stay alive... Sweeney's imagination is fascinated by all the ways we say
no to experience, and how those denials build an enigmatic and above all
deeply personal architecture around us."
Clair Wills, The Irish Times
"Here is the fabulist's art,
simplicity of statement, a close logic in the sequence of actions, an
economy of images and characters. The effect is utterly cogent, yet it
defamiliarises what we know. Perception and logic are both exact, but
re-aligned at a slight variance from each other. We have seen this
defamiliarising purpose in Kafka, and in the work of Vasko Popa, Miroslav
Holub and others, but Sweeney makes of the method his own world."
Alan Gould , Quadrant