Robert Priest

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Resurrection in the Cartoon READ EXCERPTS

1997 (ECW)

Grounded in twentieth-century pop iconography, this book delivers all the passion, satire, and engaging wit that's become the author's trademark. Individually, these qualities mark every poem as socially and politically relevant. As a collection, the poems take on everything from Elvis and the Three Stooges to the current right wing political agenda. Relentless in its assessment of contemporary culture, the mordant irony, brutal honesty, and remarkable sensitivity of Priest's surreal prose poems, lush lyrics, confessions, psalms, slams, songs, sayings, and parables creates a poetic crucible in which the Canadian "melting-pot' is purified of its hypocrisies and reclaimed, ultimately, in the joy of language.

From The Editors At

Robert Priest has a lot to say about society today. His poetry and music are instrumental in voicing that opinion. As one of a small group of Canadian artists that has been successful in both prose and music, Priest is often satirical, but always engaging. Resurrection In The Cartoon, an Acorn Award winner, will have you thinking and smirking.

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Resurrection in the Cartoon

Here in the cartoon

resurrection is no miracle

Krishna, Christ, Lazarus

their risings are commonplace, profane

just a logical extension of the accident of death

usually humorous

The avatar cat rising up to face the cannon yet again

to be skinned once more by the escalator

There are no saviours in cartoons

no real redemption

Nor is there transformation

the duppy drawing springs back to life

always insanely intent

relentlessly pursuing

something quicker


than itself

And so we’re dragged through the hoop

stripped down to some bone-self

the dumb button just jammed right in


The cruel karma machine

the wind-up cross, the electric man-hurler

I’ve come down on nails

on heads

on sticky stuff

an animated Hephaestus

still smelling of Aphrodite

still red with the raw hand of Zeus upon my back

I am hurled down repeatedly

a rubber Satan

a bouncy Christ

my features moving

so fast they distort

my feet on treadmill

my feet on insane

But I have power in the situation

I can run out over the edge of the cliff

and look, if I whir my legs

for seconds

I don’t fall

Little Right Wing Song Against The Victims

For too long we have blamed the crime

on the perpetrator

It's time to get the victims

in their bloody bandage disguises

they hide magnets in their throats

manipulating with their exploded hearts

the great issues of the world

Behind every great savagery I assure you

lies the hand of the victim

perpetually burning, sinister with portent

the victim conducts human electricity

forking it ever to the crime

the skinny excuse of being mangled

the great alibi that they are too young

the mere technicality that they have been silenced

The Non-Violent Boxer

(The poet makes deeking, ducking, non-aggressive moves. "Thwip" is the sound of a fist flying but not connecting. "Ding" is the sound of the bell ending the round.)

He came from nowhere. The quickest ducker in the world. The fastest chin in existence. The non-violent boxer, just deeking and dodging, while his opponent flails away. Thwip! Thwip! Look at that guy move! Look at the way he pops that lightbulb-like head straight down, almost as though into some turtle hole in the top of his torso. Shhzooopp! And a fist cuts through naked air, the little guy's legs shooting wide apart. Five rounds and he hasn't been touched.

If you listen you can hear him over the ring mike trying to persuade his opponent. "Do you think it would be a victory if you beat me?" Thwip! "That would be just one more loss for both of us." Thwip! Thwip! "The greatest victory of all is in our grasp, but I need you my brother." Thwip! Thwip! Thwip! Thwip! Thwip! Ding!

Interview with Non-violent Boxer(panting)

Q: How do you account for your win?

A: Well, because I am using non-violent techniques I have not only the strength of my body but all the force of truth in history at my disposal.? This, coupled iwth my great agility is what makes winning possible.

Q: How important is the agility?

A: These battle might be fought without the agility but it would be infinitely more painful as I would have to allow myself to be pummelled many times.? This would make me less durable as a boxer. And less engaging as an entertainer and artists.? My agility is very important.

Blue Pyramids (2004)
New and Selected Poems
How To Swallow A Pig (2001)
Selected Prose Poems

The Milton Acorn Memorial People's Poetry Award, 1989
Special Choice Award, Children's Book Centre, 1993
Socan Airplay Award, 1994
Chalmer's Award, Theatre for Young Audiences, 1998

416 466-0047

197 1/2 Jones Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4M 3A2 If you want to book Robert as a singer/songwriter call 416 466-0047 or email

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