JABBERING WITH BING BONG
Kevin Spenst’s much-anticipated debut collection of poetry opens as a coming-of-age narrative of lower-middle class life in Vancouver’s suburb of Surrey, embroidered within a myriad of pop—and “post-Mennonite”—culture.
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.
In April and May of 2015, Spenst embarked on his 50-venue reading tour of the province, AKA Jabbering with BC tour. Reading at bookstores, art galleries, coffee shops, breweries and other venues, he brought his bombastic style of reading to audiences big and small, suspecting and unsuspecting. Some of the poems were written on the spot, while most of the poetry came from the pages of Jabbering with Bing Bong.
“Belief and disbelief rub up against each other in this startling and flawless debut collection. … These important poems do not redeem so much as allow the possibility of redemption.”
– Jen Currin, author of The Inquisition Yours
“Fearless, attentively probing, and sonically sharp, he is a rare counter-theosophist rhapsodist. Spenst’s Jabbering…is the work of a remarkable shepherd.”
– Sandra Ridley, author of The Counting House
“Kevin Spenst provides further proof that the best writing these days is in the practice of poetry. Hang on tight as you are winged deftly through the human strains…curiosity, sexuality, death, religion and striving—it’s all here.”
– Dennis E. Bolen, author of Black Liquor
“Kevin Spenst’s muscular vocabulary, vigorous pace and nimble references to cultural details enliven his exploration of topics ranging from adolescence to God to Fenris wolf.”
– Sarah Klassen, author of Journey to Yalta
VIDEO: Winnipeg International Writers Festival 2016, Poetry Crawl
Extract from Michael Dennis’ review at Today’s Book of Poetry:
SEPTEMBER 17, 2015
These crisp missives chirp, chortle and chide and in no time at all Spenst has taken us around an unexpected corner. Spenst has a strangle hold on contemporary culture and the reader tied in knots with these dense little sausages packed to bursting with poetic meat. These poems have a great sense of wondrous play that disguise the shot to the brain Spenst has just knuckle-balled your way. He gains quick and slick access to the part of our brains that love poetry.”
Extract from Steven Brown’s review 24 Reasons for Jabbering with Kevin Spenst:
JANUARY 15, 2016
Jabbering With Bing Bong is all Spenst. Bit of an eccentric title. Good match to the cover art by Marc Bell. It’s an apparition of a four-eyed patchwork entity that could pass as some sort of pincushion, or maybe a robot in a suit and headgear made from a crazy quilt. You don’t have to get it. It just is. Like Surrey.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!” That’s right. The nonsense beast out of Lewis Carroll. It’s a recurring reference in “Nonesuch Surrey,” a suite of two dozen sonnets giving a view through a cracked looking glass on a crazy ride growing up Mennonite in the Surrey of the 1980s.
VIDEO: BC Book Tour
Artwork by Marc Bell