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 Chapters.ca
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.
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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