The Cold Panes of Surface
The Cold Panes of Surfaces By Chris Banks
At the top of the Tarot deck is a card called The Magician. Given the number 1 to signify his importance, The Magician stands in the centre of the card with one hand holding a wand aimed at the sky and the other hand pointed toward the ground, symbolizing his ability to manifest here on Earth all that is above. In his book The Cold Panes of Surfaces (Nightwood Editions, 2006), poet Chris Banks reverses this clandestine process, taking the incidental moments of our lives and raising them with stunningly precise language to the level of the divine. Lines like “Today, field crickets with hum-bucking bones/recite whole tribal histories and mythologies/To the tune of an undiagnosed sadness” prove Banks’s immense skill as he crafts his poetry with the exactness of a fine tailor. Although the poems in The Cold Panes of Surfaces tackle much traditional poetic territory—coming of age, travel in foreign lands, falling in love—the imagery is always fresh and revelatory, as if Banks is taking you by the hand, pointing to the world around you and saying, "Here is beauty. Here it is again. And here."
This story appears in Poetry Is Dead issue 1. If you like it online, you'll love it in print. Subscribe Now »