Inspired by a group of herons resting near the author’s home towards the end of a long and difficult winter, this collection of poems employs the crane—the symbol of longevity, immortality, and good fortune in Asian folklore—as its dominant image. Questions such as How do we make sense of our lives” and What is the role of the imagination, art, and place in shaping our vision of the self and teaching us how to be human” are explored using unabashed lyricism and a wry, philosophical style. Winter Cranes demonstrates Chris Banks’s ability to be an uncompromising poet, determined to understand his experience of a world constantly changing around him.
Chris Banks is the author of Bonfires , which received the 2004 Jack Chalmers Award for poetry and was short-listed for the Gerald Lampert Award, and The Cold Panes of Surfaces . He lives in Waterloo, Ontario.
"Banks honours poets who have undoubtedly influenced him—they include Wallace Stevens, Wordsworth and Keats, Yeats and Front—but his voice owes the most to Earle Briney and Al Purdy, two Canadian poets who shared Bank's compassionate attentiveness to nature. Nature is everywhere in Banks' poems, whether they are set in the country or in the city... Cold Panes of Surfaces confirms the emergence of a poet who has meaningful things to say and who possesses the Language tools to say it well." “Robert Reid, The Record
” Bonfires is a delightful debut with poems so accomplished they take over every page. Rarely has a first book been this impressive. Time and again, these poems made me see the world anew and many startled me with their right and wonderful phrases and images. Banks covers a wide array of subject matter and with a remarkable command, so whether he is writing about family, about the north, about traveling abroad, or the house next door he makes us care and see that everything matters, that nothing is superfluous. These poems are so good you won't put the book down once you start." “Robert Hilles
"Chris Banks takes the incidental moments of our lives and raises them with stunningly precise Language to the level of the divine...the imagery is always fresh and revelatory, as if Banks were taking us by the hand, pointing to the world around us and saying, 'Here is beauty. Here it is again. And here.'" “Leah Rae, Geist
?In these poems, Chris Banks has taken the world he knows and thrown it on the pyre, offered up in intimate sacrifice. Up close, the Language sparks and pops, burning the fuel of the poet's experience. From a comfortable distance, these poems cast a warming glow upon the reader. In the sense of this collection's Title, they are bonfires signalling the direction in which vigorous thoughts are moving, but they also become the flashpoints around which memorable stories are told." “Paul Vermeersch on Bonfires
"If the mood is often tinged with melancholy, the descriptions are wonderfully evocative: sailboats are 'moored to their own reflections, like arks / filled with night's solace'; the landscape in 'Escarpment Country' consists of 'townships and concessions tack-hammered together / into a huge picnic-cloth of / russet browns, tawny yellows, forests and farmlands spread out / like a rippling sea of lost details.' Look past that frost-forming Title; this collection is chock full of deft phrasing and memorable images" “Barbara Carey, Toronto Star on The Cold Panes of Surfaces
” Bonfires manages to combine humour and breathlessness in a way that Canadian poetry seldom does. Chris Banks knows that fire takes that precious air and eats it. These are poems of unpaid bills, public transit, dust, dog piss, histamine, history, litter, longing. Banks combines beauty with a kind of trivial domestic ugliness, emerging reverent, setting us 'adrift under the only sky / we will ever know.'" “Emily Schultz, Broken Pencil
" Cold Panes of Surfaces offers appreciative readers 96 pages of Chris Banks' superbly crafted and enthusiastically recommended prose poems." — Library Bookwatch
"[Banks is] a maestro with the poetry of physical objects....[ Winter Cranes is] sure-footed and lovely." — Quill & Quire (October 2011)