Bonfires by Chris BanksBonfires by Chris Banks


byChris Banks

Paperback | October 15, 2003

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Bringing Canadian poetry back to the achingly honest tradition of John Newlove and Bronwen Wallace, Chris Banks eschews linguistic showmanship, sketching in deft strokes the foreignness of things familiar.

Framed within the rural landscape of southwestern Ontario and Al Purdy's "country north of Belleville," Banks turns his pen to modern life and the small domestic urgencies that arise from it. This is a landscape we are all familiar with - grocery lines, "chemical-green lawns," piles of gas bills and tax receipts, endless whirring highways and "a nacreous moon shining/ over condominiums." A pointed and unrequited longing underpins Bonfires, but rather than toil in the darkness of his daily observations, Banks presses on to show us the essential centre where "everything disassembles itself / into some new clarity here."
Raised in the Ontario communities of Bancroft, Sioux Lookout and Stayner, where his father served postings as a small-town police officer, Chris Banks took his BA at the University of Guelph, a Master's in Creative Writing at Concordia and an education degree at Western. He currently works as an English and Creative Writing instructor ...
Title:BonfiresFormat:PaperbackDimensions:96 pages, 8 × 5.5 × 0.25 inPublished:October 15, 2003Publisher:Nightwood EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889711968

ISBN - 13:9780889711969

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Editorial Reviews

Chris Banks offers a striking debut with his first collection, Bonfires. His poems resonate with a "pure" intention to capture a moment, and to find the elusive link between experience and its attendant cluster of emotions. Against the backdrop of Southern Ontario are set Banks' concise explorations of meaning, navigations of memory, and rallies against loneliness. Each near-miss at capturing the truth of pain's presence, at getting down "what it is trying to say / and how it is probably right" resonates with the conflicting bravery and loss of confrontation. Over the course of the collection the voice reconstitutes itself, and consequently its reader, as its own companion. The poems are bare with self-honesty, and smoulder with stock-taking.This is a lyric voice honed from real speech and developed by a keen ear for cadence. It has the quiet assuredness of the best lyric poets and yet is for the most part free of the practiced rhythm that inhabits and anesthetizes so much contemporary work: rather than putting voice in the service of intellectualized argument, here emotion sings, and uses craft to modulate the pace and decibel level."--Sonnet L'Abbé, Canadian Literature