Jenny Swann - background
With a background (and degrees) in literature and art history, Jenny was the inspiration behind the first Tate Gallery poetry competition for children in the 1980s, and has since run poetry workshops for children at the Manchester Art Gallery, Nottingham Castle Museum and the Leicester New Walk Gallery, as well as lectures for adults at the National Gallery, Courtauld Institute and the V & A. She was a researcher at the V & A and subsequently ran the V & A’s newly-founded licensing programme. She worked as an Information Officer for Tate and has published a number of articles on art history, including contributions to the Macmillan Dictionary of Art. Her poetry has appeared in three collections(see Reviews). She has been a winner in a number of poetry competitions and was Highly Commended in the Forward Poetry Prize. Jenny has received Arts Council England funding for her poetry, a ‘Cultivate’ award for her publishing work (2009) while her poems have been performed on national television (BBC2), BBC Radio 4 and elsewhere. She has also appeared on BBC Radio 4 discussing different aspects of poetry.
Candlestick Press (2008 - 2016)
In 2008, Jenny set up the successful poetry imprint Candlestick Press and ran it until 2016, when she stood down for family reasons. She received many accolades – and an award – for the originality of the Press. Candlestick Press continues under the ownership of Jenny's former business partner, Di Slaney.
One Plum Poem
Since 2018, Jenny has concentrated on work as a freelance poetry consultant and author. One Plum Poem produces greetings cards, each featuring a single poem, and acts also as an umbrella organisation for exploring the possibilities of single poems in other media. Since 2019, Jenny has been a trustee of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature.
Jam, crumble and inspiration
Plums and poetry have been friends for centuries – John Keats wrote ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ while sitting under a plum tree in his garden in Hampstead. William Carlos Williams’ poem ‘This Is Just To Say’ placed plums at the very heart of twentieth-century modernism. Meanwhile, plums seem to double as poems in the title poem of Annie Freud’s collection, The Mirabelles, in which “…a plum tree has scattered/ its golden fruit all over the pavement” - a sight the poet remembers “…every day for the rest of her life.”
The One Plum Poem office overlooks an old plum tree that annually provides us with jams, autumnal crumbles and spring blossom.