Introducing The Abrupt Edge with Chris Banks

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Before I let Chris speak, I wish to introduce not only him as The Miramichi Reader’s new Poetry Editor, but his new column, The Abrupt Edge as well. It will be a regular feature here at TMR and will feature poetry, poetry news and whatever else Chris wants to tell you about. Welcome, Chris!

The late American poet Stanley Plumly once wrote an essay called ‘The Abrupt Edge” in his terrific book of essays Argument & Song. He borrowed the phrase from ornithology which is used to describe the edge between two types of vegetation. For instance, a brooding forest opening onto a rolling meadow where the birds might hide in the trees but then sweep out into the meadow to find prey. There are advantages to both places. However, the way Plumly saw the abrupt edge referred to a particular kind of poetry, and he talked closely about the poetry of Keats and Plath in particular, explaining the real edge is between, “life and more life, memory and wish. The powerful imagination does not work, as every good poem reminds us, unless it comes to an edge, makes its pass, and one way or another, returns”(18).

I felt ”The Abrupt Edge” was an apt title for our new Poetry features here at The Miramichi Reader and I hope to showcase the kind of poetry Plumly was seeking, poems and reviews and small poetry news items that live at the edges of our lives, but also momentarily make their pass into some larger world bringing back a richness that can only be found there. This is where the danger and the diversity exists. As poetry editor, I am hopefully up to this task and look forward to working with everyone at The Miramichi Reader.

(If you wish to have your poetry or brought to Chris’ attention,  use the form below.)

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About the author

Chris Banks is a Canadian poet and author of five collections of poems, most recently Midlife Action Figure by ECW Press 2019. His first full-length collection, Bonfires, was awarded the Jack Chalmers Award for poetry by the Canadian Authors' Association in 2004.

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