Dane Swan is a Bermuda-born, Toronto-based spoken word artist, former slam poet, musician, author, and emerging editor. A former remedial English student, he is now an author of both fiction and poetry. Dane's second poetry collection, A Mingus Lullaby, was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry in 2017.
Preferred poetic styles: Lyrical page poetry, contemporary page poetry, dub poetry, and spoken word
Preferred subjects: Social justice, music, history, and popular culture
Influences: Saul Williams, Richard Wright, Wanda Coleman, Walt Whitman, Richard Pryor, and Lenny Bruce
No, I didn't read much poetry in high school. The most influential poems in my environment while in high school were rap and reggae song lyrics. Whenever I was bored in school, I would pull out a notepad and try to write my own song lyrics. I was always writing something.
I started writing poetry in elementary school. I was probably five or six. I didn't realize that I was a poet until I was in my twenties.
A poet's job is to create a mental picture of the environment that they're in for their readers, or audience. That can be the physical space of the poet, or their mental space. Poets have historically informed the public of political turmoil, emerging issues, or even been used to create propaganda. Words have power. Being respected for your skill with words has value. An important part of being a poet is understanding that, and figuring out how you want to create spaces and conversations through the medium that you use.
I remember seeing this moment and thinking, "Isn't protest supposed to be uncomfortable? Why do people not understand something so simple?" So, I wrote a simple poem.
“Kay in Summer” by Claire Harris