Probing the local genius as expressed in history and customs, Swenson absorbs the anguish of colonization and dictatorship to reveal ordinary people and events with a sardonic humor, pathos and hope. Her travels arrive at moral ambiguities where cultures clash and where the human population devastates the natural environment. With remarkable technical dexterity, she searches beneath the surface of politics and philosophy to find essential human character.
“She is a poet who is deeply engaged with the world and her times. But she never ascends the soapbox, never attempts to convert you to her point of view… Swenson finds in such situations a common bond of humanity which links all humans one to another.” —Hudson Review
“In the course of her Southeast Asian journey, Swenson arrives at a wholly human perspective that considers the paradoxical human problems of loneliness versus the need for solitary adventure; guilt over war and ecological destruction versus the individual’s inability to effect change. Swenson’s sketches underscore what is universal in human nature.” —M Reviews