Mateer writes: ' Burning Swans is a glimpse of iconoclasm, a moment through which an antipodean symbol burns with the light of an individual's past and an adopted country's ahistorical present. The disturbance in the poems is a recognition of loss. Personal relationships replace the abstraction of belief. Images are nourished by blood's pneumonic emotion. And energised by the charcoal after-image of words.'
'In his first collection of poems, John Mateer restlessly visits the tensions between past and present, himself and others, language and its loss. Experimental and frequently personal in approach, ranging from short lyrics to the sustained exploration of ideas, Burning Swans shows an exciting young poet at the beginning of his writing life.(From the inside cover of the work).'