SPENST, Kevin




Author Tags: Poetry

You can't keep a good poet down.

Having undertaken a 100-venue, cross-Canada reading tour in 2014, Kevin Spenst of Vancouver undertook a 50-venue, all-in-B.C. tour to promote his collection Jabbering with Bing Bong (Anvil 2015). The whirlwind tour began in Vancouver at the Hogan's Alley Cafe on April 13 and culminated on May 15 with a reading at the Alaska Ferry Terminal in Prince Rupert. Stops along the way included White Rock, Surrey, New Westminster, Cumberland, Courtenay, Victoria, Nelson, Prince George, Smithers, and Prince Rupert. The most high-profile event was held on April 23 at The Railway Club in Vancouver with local poet Jeff Steudel (Foreign Park) and Montreal's Melissa Bull (Rue). The line-up of locales was posted at: http://tinyurl.com/omfb3cnReadings

Kevin Spenst represents a new generation of poets which incorporates the digital world into their writing routines. In 2003, he wrote a new story, online, every day for the entire year. In 2004, Spenst again wrote daily, this time in the form of flash fiction inspired by contemporary art. Another project involved writing and emailing stories to numerous people around the world who would in turn print and hide the writings so that others would find them. Each piece had Spenstís email address and a plea for the finder to identify their whereabouts.

In 2007, Spenst self-published Fast Fictions, a sampling of the stories he had previously emailed out. In 2008 he revisited his story-a-day-for-a-year challenge to himself, this time using a different pseudonym for every piece. Reader feedback ranged from fan mail, to requests for medical advice, to hatemail when Spenst wrote under the pseudonym Yann Martel.

According to publicity materials, Kevin Spenst's debut collection of poetry, Jabbering with Bing Bong (Anvil Press, 2015) opens as a coming-of-age narrative of lower-middle class life in Vancouverís suburb of Surrey, embroidered within a myriad of pop and ďpost-MennoniteĒ culture.

We are told, "Language is at play with sit-com sonnets, soundscapes of noise, videogame goombas, an Old-Testament God, teenage longing within the power chords of heavy metal and the complicated loss of a father to schizophrenia. Jabbering with Bing Bong chronicles the heartbreaking and slapstick pursuit of truth in the realms of religion, mental health and poetic form itself."

Spenstís poetry has appeared in Prairie Fire, Contemporary Verse 2, Rhubarb Magazine, Capilano Review, dANDelion, filling Station, Poetry is Dead, Moonshot Magazine, The Maynard, illiterature, The Enpipe Line, V6A and Ditch Poetry. He was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, his manuscript Ignite was a finalist for the Alfred G. Baily Prize, and in 2011, pieces from Ignite won the Lush Triumphant Award for Poetry.

Kevin Spenst is also a founding member of Thursdays Editing Collective at Carnegie Center, a group that assists writers in Vancouverís Downtown Eastside.

CHAPBOOKS:

Pray Goodbye (Alfred Gustav Press, 2013)
Retractable (Serif of Nottingham, 2013)
Happy Hollow and the Surrey Suite (self-published, 2012)
What the Frag Meant(100 tÍtes press, 2014)
Surrey Sonnets (JackPine Press, 2014).

BOOKS:

Ignite (Anvil Press 2016) $18 978-1-77214-053-8

Jabbering with Bing Bong (Anvil 2015) $18 978-1-77214-014-9

[BCBW 2016]