Jon Swan was a poet, translator, and journalist.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1929, he grew up in Iowa and Nebraska and attended Oberlin College, in Ohio, later acquiring a masterís degree in English at Boston University. He has worked for the American Friends (Quakers) Service Committee in the US and Germany, taught in Switzerland, edited in China, and directed a large cast of Rato Bangala students in Patan, Nepal, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for which Jonís wife, Marianne, designed the sets and costumes. After living for forty years in the Berkshires, he and Marianne moved to Yarmouth, Maine, in 2013. He died on September, 2022 in Yarmouth ME.
Jon's poems have been published in The Atlantic, Antaeus, Exquisite Corpse, Harvard Magazine, The New Yorker, and Tikkun, and, in the UK, in HU: The Honest Ulsterman, The Observer, Rialto, and Stand. Three collections of his poems have been published: Journeys & Return, A Door to the Forest, and (self-published) Language & Landscape. In collaboration with director Ulu Grosbard, Jon translated Peter Weissís The Investigation, and in collaboration with Carl Weber, he translated Weissís Hoelderlin and Kleistís The Broken Jug. In collaboration with his wife, he translated Black Ulysses and Gangrene, by Jeff Geerarts from the Dutch.
His one-act plays have been performed by the Seattle Repertory Theater, off-Broadway, and at Mixed Company, in Great Barrington, Mass. His reporting on environmental issues Ė mainly related to Iceland -- has appeared in The Amicus Journal (subsequently titled OnEarth), Orion, Smithsonian, and World Rivers Review. Articles on other subjects appeared in MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.