The Cold Panes of Surfaces by Chris BanksThe Cold Panes of Surfaces by Chris Banks

The Cold Panes of Surfaces

byChris Banks

Paperback | November 28, 2006

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The Cold Panes of Surfaces is the moving second collection of poems from award-winning author Chris Banks.

Rooted in the pastoral tradition of Wordsworth, Frost and Wallace Stevens, The Cold Panes of Surfaces describes the Southern Ontario landscape of trains, lakes, moose and pine with unflinchingly sharp image and metaphor. In so doing, he brings to it a distinctly modern edge, meditating on "the rent we are paying to the planet for our waning lives." Here, beetles become "child kamikazes... a wallpaper of yellow-winged flames" and the planet is a "Museum of Natural Beauty."

Banks takes imaginative leaps into the worlds of a magician's assistant, a fifteenth-century Japanese poet, and the Muse. Most of all, these poems eloquently describe childhood, loss in all its forms, the vagaries of relationships, and being "a sullen young man / caught in the world's fist."

The Cold Panes of Surfaces is a remarkable collection, and a fitting follow-up to Banks' award-winning first book Bonfires.
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:The Cold Panes of SurfacesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:96 pages, 8 × 5.5 × 0.2 inPublished:November 28, 2006Publisher:Nightwood EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889712220

ISBN - 13:9780889712225

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Makes me want to read more poetry I get most of my book suggestions from industry newsletters or by reading reviews on other book blogs. This one came via my son. He came home from school excited one day and told me that I just had to go and buy this book of poetry called Bonfires. He had been studying poetry in English class and it turned out that his teacher had published some of them in a collection. Off we went to the local independent store. Couldn't find the suggested edition, and bought his second book instead. Here I am with Chris Banks' book in hand and my son every day asking whether I have started reading. Well, it is National Poetry Month, I decided I would jump right in. I haven't read a poetry book in decades and thus had to sit and reflect on how to go about reading these little nuggets of , well, what are they. Here's what I came up with. Reading poems is like eating pierogis. They appear soft and smooth on the surface, but you can't see what's inside. It's going to be a surprise. You can guess what's in there, but you can't be sure. Next you can choose to slather on all sorts of expectations such as sour cream and fried onions. That's like having expectations that the poem with be all sappy with lovey dovey stuff or that it will be hard to understand. You can eat just one and savour it, or you can munch down on a bowlful and go back for more. In the end, your hunger gets to you, and you just have to dig in. That's what I did, one or two poems at a time for the most part, though a few days I was gluttonous and ate a whole bowlful. I was pleasantly surprised. Some of the poems, I was able to find their flavour right away, others I had to take a second or third bite. There was one poem I just had to keep going back to. "Wrecking Ball" is about teenage suicide. Mr. Banks is a high school teacher; I never before considered how such an incident could impact on the teachers. In the poem "The Sky is Falling" the reader is asked to consider experiencing something you had never even heard of for the very first time. Something way outside your realm of ever considering possible. I was intrigued by several poems that reached out to historic figures. General Maresuke Nogi and the poet Ikkyu and both new names to me, but I found I couldn't leave them in the poem, I had to search them out and learn more.
Date published: 2011-04-28

Editorial Reviews

Chris Banks slips, with great ease, between past and preset, between what is lost and what is found in this collection. His poems are elegantly layered pieces of image and metaphor that sweep the reader into the center of each poem.
--Kim Fahner, Canadian Book Review Annual