Tuesday, August 6, 2019
My latest collection Midlife Action Figure is not scheduled to come out until next month but already copies have arrived at my house and they look stunning! I am very excited for everyone to read it as I think it will surprise many. I took a lot of risks with this book and Bob Hicok and Catherine Owen very graciously offered to blurb the collection.
Already, there is a buzz starting to build around the book and I couldn't be happier! There is an upcoming starred review of Midlife Action Figure in Quill and Quire which will be out in September's issue.
Here is a little taste of the review: "Midlife Action Figure delivers surprise, delight, and sense; Banks slams sly one liners as though he were competing in a professional wrestling match..." and "Midlife Action Figure is an insightful tour through the human experience, crafted in clear and specific imagery that captivates the imagination and the intelligence. It is a book that begs to be read and reread."
Special thanks to Micheline Maylor for taking the time to read my book and capturing the essence of what I was trying to do in her review.
Posted by Chris Banks at 6:39 AM
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Because after primary school no one
gets participation ribbons, cherry trees
drop petals like prizes across the yard.
I am famous for counting stars, catching
grasshoppers, anxiety. Give everyone
a medal for surviving heartache, divorce,
therapists. A gravestone is a trophy you win
after death. Truth deserves its own points
program. I’m saving up for sea monkeys,
X-ray vision, immortality. I won the contest
at my place of employment for blood
circulation, work despondancy, art
emergencies. Every year, I know less than
the year before, but still the rewards
keep piling up like medical prescriptions,
credit card debt. The evidence dictates
each day is a prototype for Heaven or Hell.
Make your choice wisely. I accept this honour
on behalf of leaving nothing out: vitamins,
lower back pain, river walks. My speech
will not make the headlines. The cherry trees
rain down coloured applause.
By Chris Banks
Posted by Chris Banks at 12:40 PM
Friday, June 21, 2019
Well, my next book Midlife Action Figure is coming out with ECW Press in just over two months, and I couldn't be more excited!
It is always a pleasure to work with my editor Michael Holmes and I think we have come up with something very special with this new collection which I'm calling a book of light surrealism and aphoristic wisdom.
Instead of going with pull quotes from several newspaper reviews of my last book The Cloud Versus Grand Unification Theory, I elected to ask my American poet friend Bob Hicok and Canadian poetic comrade Catherine Owen to blurb the collection ahead of publication. Here is what they have to say about the book:
"My spirit guide is a scarecrow; guilt is everyone’s personal gulag; can I coat-check this malaise; death is classically trained: Chris Banks builds poems out of short sentences that are like photons, little packets of energy full of aphoristic punch and surprise. He delights in the swings of imagination, in the way every next image or idea can plow new ground even as it alters the meaning and feel of what has preceded it. The result is a constant state of euphoria, an ongoing demonstration of the swerve and swirl of human consciousness. A river is a correspondence course -- as with so many lines here, my recognition that I’ve never thought of it that way is followed immediately by the sensation that there’s no other way to see it, that I am being shown the truth."
- Bob Hicok
"The laboratory of aesthetics / these days is really about mischief / and surprise, writes Chris Banks in this collection of cheeky, pointed dicta on everything from how to survive an emergency to enduring a job interview, amid surreal admissions that the speaker has a "minor crush on Saturn's moons" or possibly suffers a "slow leak" as each year his "heart grows an extra ring." Midlife Action Figure is a book of solid poems from the centre of existing, through deep space and the places in the mind like "Matryoshka dolls" that endlessly nest into their own allusiveness, returning with a yield of essential observations and imperatives for the continuance of the earth." - Catherine Owen
Posted by Chris Banks at 12:47 PM
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Centipede creature roaming over a bathroom-tile empire.
Do you dream? Imagine? Now that the trial offer
is over, do you want to extend your sadness for another
six months for the low, low cost of your happiness?
We live our lives between driving lessons, bad hair-cuts.
Growing up, I was taught to be scared of Communism
and strangers, but then adolescence came, and I wanted
to bury the word helpless in my heart. I felt useless,
dispossessed of utility, and that was my super-power.
I walked my malaise to a high-school and back home
dreaming how my poems would fix the world when,
in reality, they couldn’t even fix me. In my twenties,
love found me, and broke me expertly in many places.
I began to mourn myself which was self-pity
traveling the Möebius strip of my brain’s neural network,
until it wore a groove into my head. Friends
became doctors, lawyers, while I got a D in penmanship
and cultural amnesia. I want to put all old things
into this box, into this moment, to stop time. Stretch
Armstrong, Simon Says, mickeys of lemon gin,
sex with room-mates, midnight movies, Blake’s Marriage
of Heaven and Hell, mortgages and car loans,
pet deaths and child births. Enough Molotov cocktails
and fun-house mirrors to go around. Even you
silverfish living behind the toilet, you deserve a measure
of praise. Even though you wish not to be seen.
The way you survive without music or magic tricks, without
orange juice or Baudelaire, without roses
or one night stands, preferring cold floors of darkness,
strangely never wishing to be anything else.
By Chris Banks
Posted by Chris Banks at 12:52 PM