I want printed islands of permanence. My writing will justify my existence. I write about my experiences, good or bad, for right or wrong, from my perspective, how I see things. That is something I can leave on this earth. That is something I will always be remembered for.

Swede Burns, the creator of the 5th Set methodology, founder of Keyhole Barbell and 2016 Powerlifting Watch coach of the year is a leading figure in the industry at only the age of 37. The Swede you recognize has a black beard that reaches down to his upper chest, a red hourglass tattoo on his right hand and a back width you might only see on stage at the Olympia. The Swede you know spent years planning, crafting and constructing a training methodology applicable to all men and women with one goal in mind: to become as strong as humanly possible. The Swede you love is a protector, son, brother, mentor and role model.

However, the Swede you don't know is a poet, autobiographer and wordsmith.

My writing in two words is intimacy and despair. Intimacy can be joy, but it can also be difficult. Those two feelings, those two experiences, are inextricably linked. You can’t have intimacy without despair. All of these poems are about intimacy with women and despair as a result of that intimacy. These are my experiences with women that I cared about, that I loved, and what happened as a result. Everything you are going to read in this poetry book, this is me, this is who I am.

Before Swede Burns ever picked up his first Hulk Hogan weight set, he began writing poems to impress older women. His love for poetry and writing was already evident at the age of 11 as he would sit and read Charles Bukowski for hours upon end. It was interesting for him at the time to have a peek into something that was unfamiliar to him, something that would eventually become his only true real passion; experiencing things, seeing things and documenting all the details involved. It became clear, the true excitement and true joy he feels within himself comes not from life’s experiences, but from reliving those life experiences through the written word. That is where his true excitement lies; that is where his true joy sits.

Training is something I am passionate about, it is something that is very important to me and it is intrinsic to who I am as a human. However, I really don't care about how much weight someone lifted today or how their workout went. Those are not things I want to read about or discuss. However, if you can talk about how it made you feel, how it affected you emotionally, if you can tie it somehow to things in life that actually matter, now I am interested and I’ll talk to you all day. Experiences, feelings, those are the things I want to talk about.

Swede acknowledges what many of us fail to admit, as a species we are all dying. It is just a matter of time. We don't know when, we don't know how, we don't know why, but it’s happening right in front of our eyes and we can’t prevent it from taking shape. Everything we care about is going to fade away and every fire is going to die, so what are you going to do in the meantime? Most people have no idea and they are just biding their time, anything to distract themselves from that eternal uncertainty. However, Swede’s newest publication grants men permission to feel and uncover layers that they previously avoided and hid from. Men who might feel insecure, men who carry a macho attitude, will be able to uncover feelings and emotions within themselves that they were too embarrassed to share otherwise.

The book of poems is set to be released within the next couple months.

In the meantime, enjoy this small teaser from “Nashville.”

We lie to ourselves that we know how much sand is left in top of the glass. The truth is we can never know that; not until the last few grains are falling. There is no telling how much time you will get with someone who has made you whole, or how long you have to keep breathing once they are gone.


  1. Burns (Author), Swede. “5thSet For Powerlifting: Methodology for Training & Competition: Second Edition EBook: Swede Burns: Kindle Store.” Amazon.com: 5thSet for Powerlifting: Methodology for Training & Competition: Second Edition EBook: Swede Burns: Kindle Store, Swede Burns, 13 Dec. 2017, www.amazon.com/5thSet-Powerlifting-Methodology-Training-Competition-ebook/dp/B0788FFNPC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517158390&sr=8-1&keywords=5th%2Bset.
  2. Snyder, Barrett. “Swede Burns: Book of Poems.” 26 Jan. 2018.