Kevin Spenst's much-anticipated debut collection of poetry opens as a coming-of-age narrative of lower-middle class life in Vancouver's suburb of Surrey, embroidered within a myriad of pop-culture and "post-Mennonite." Jabbering with Bing Bong interrogates memory and makes its way into the urban energies of Vancouver.
Language is at play with sit-com sonnets and soundscapes of noise; videogame goombas and an Old-Testament God; teenage longing within the power chords of heavy metal andthe complicated loss of a father to schizophrenia. Jabbering with Bing Bong, chronicles the heartbreaking and slapstick pursuit of truth in the realms of religion, mental health, and poetic form itself.
The poems in Jabbering with Bing Bong are formally inventive, emotionally charged, and teeming with ideas.
"Belief and disbelief rub up against each other in this startling and flawless debut collection by Kevin Spenst. Jabbering with Bing Bong's urban and suburban-scapes vibrate with a controlled hysteria; a music at turns ebullient, ribald, somber. These important poems do not redeem so much as allow the possibility of redemption: Sometimes words/mean nothing and everything. Open your mouth and see.'" (Jen Currin)
"In Jabbering with Bing Bong, Kevin Spenst playfully-and masterfully-confronts the preacher of the urban pastoral. For us, he gives a deserved and surreal middle finger to the comic absurdity of the evangelist. Infused with 80s pop culture, folklore, psychology, and thetransient mythos of the changing 'nonesuch' of place and people, Spenst's poems platform a don't-mess-with-me feistiness and versatility. Fearless, attentively probing, and sonically sharp, he is a rare counter-theosophist rhapsodist. His poems reveal the labour of an unyielding, gentle soul. Indeed, Spenst's Jabbering... is the work of a remarkable shepherd." (Sandra Ridley)
"Inside a twisted TV-to-organism takeover, Kevin Spenst provides further proof that the best writing these days is in the practice of poetry. Hang on tight as you are winged deftly through the human strains...curiosity, sexuality, death, religion and striving, it's all here. 'Best of all you can jump towards the heavens on the trampoline in bouncing rain.' Something for everyone: a story of Surrey as a history of traffic; family life of the scruffily psychotic; the phrenology of things that go David Lynch in the draft beer night; and gibberish too!" (Dennis E. Bolen, author of Black Liquor, Anticipated Results)"Charged with energy and delivered with confidence, Jabbering with Bing Bong is a compelling read. Kevin Spenst's muscular vocabulary, vigorous pace and nimble references to cultural details enliven his exploration of topics ranging from adolescence to God to Fenris wolf. Skepticism is offset with humour and compassion, and holding it all together is grief for a dead father whose troubled life still haunts the son and informs his writing." (Sarah Klassen)
About the author
In addition to the UK, the United States, Austria and India, Kevin Spenst's poetry has appeared in over a dozen Canadian literary publications. In April and May of 2014 Kevin Spenst did a 100-venue reading tour of Canada in support of small poetry presses with his chapbooks Pray Goodbye (the Alfred Gustav Press, 2013), Retractable (the serif of nottingham, 2013), Happy Hollow and the Surrey Suite (self-published, 2012), What the Frag Meant (100 têtes press, 2014) and Surrey Sonnets (JackPine Press, 2014).