A literary poet in the tradition of Neruda and Mayakovsky, a composer of lush love poems, and a widely quoted aphorist, Robert Priest is a mainstay of the literary/spoken word/music circuit both in Canada and abroad.
"Though he cunningly and entertainingly makes use of the techniques of mass pop art, his work at its best transcends them and enters a world of a wider imagination, and a deeper socially critical commentary… He is certainly one of the most imaginatively inventive poets in the country."
- The Pacific Rim Review
"Poetic templates Priest calls Meme Splices are used throughout the book to great effect and humour. . . . These clever exercises are not only amusing but can playfully upend the most contrived cultural sound byte, and invest it with new meaning. The poet also gives the funhouse treatment to numerous biblical narratives with irreverent glee. . . . Who knew living backwards could be so progressive?"
- Scene Magazine
"Language itself is the subject of some of Priest's most inventive reverse engineering. In a series of "splice" poems, words that are phonetically similar but different in meaning are substituted in common phrases. Thus, in “Face/Faith Meme Splice,” the word “faith” replaces “face” in familiar expressions: “To look at your faith in the mirror / Wanting to hide your faith ... the faith that launched a thousand ships.” To slide these words back and forth, sometimes in nonsensical contexts, is to shake loose the associations they have in our culture... The guiding thematic spirit of this entertaining collection may be backwardness, but it showcases a poet whose roving imagination is omni-directional."
- The Toronto Star
"A truly invigorating combination of rants raves and reveries. A candidly close encounter with an assured literary intelligence."
- The Toronto Star
"Beautifully captures the rainbow of emotions that comprise the human spirit.. Intoxicatingly lovely!"
- Now Magazine
"Poetry full of flashes of insight. Imaginative in a strange way, he takes inordinate chances with logic, countering absurdity with absurdity, and expanding our sense of human emotional possibilities."
- The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature
"The words of Robert Priest never fail to put me into some kind of appreciative trance. His writing ages well; the short stories, his odes to his private parts and songs about sperm, his litanies about his ex-wife and memories of his mom are modern classics."
- Donna Lypchuck, Eye Magazine
"Dramatic and visionary. There is a superb balance between poetry of ideas and poetry of feeling. The content is frank and often erotic, but the leaven of laughter is never far away.... Magnificent, profound, religious and challenging."
- Canadian Book Review Annual
"Featuring everything from Gandhi's sex life to misdirected kisses at misses; Priest pulls you into his poems through sheer voice-power. He invokes his poems into being; transforming the written into spoken magic."
- Excalibur (U. of Toronto)
"His imagination is centrifugal, complex, sensual and subtle... he brings an often ugly, sometimes beautiful world to our attention by fully exercising a complex imagination and an energetic interest in language."
- University of Windsor Review
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 email@example.com.
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