5000 Miles From Utopia – My Blog

Exile on a Grid Road: In the Spotlight in the Regina LeaderPost and Saskatoon StarPhoenix

My book, Exile on a Grid Road, in the Spotlight in the Regina Leader Post
My book, Exile on a Grid Road, in the Spotlight in the Regina Leader Post

Saturday mornings, for me, are a time to lie in and ignore the sounds around me…

Footsteps on the stairs. Coffee beans being ground. The front door opened and closed as the morning newspapers are retrieved.

My goal is to stay asleep — or at least, pretend to be asleep and pretend that I hear nothing — for as long as I can. And that works, on some Saturday mornings.

Continue reading Exile on a Grid Road: In the Spotlight in the Regina LeaderPost and Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The Future is Always Beginning

the-future-is-beginningI am honoured to be asked to participate in the new “Poet Laureate Emerging Writers Reading” on November 25 at 7 p.m., at the Art Gallery of Regina, 2420 Elphinstone Street.

My thanks to Saskatchewan’s poet laureate, Judith Krause, for hosting “The Future is Always Beginning”!

I’ll be reading with Cassidy McFadzean, dee Hobsbawn-Smith and Jim McLean. For an insight into the range of work you’ll hear, here are short bios, from the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild.

Continue reading The Future is Always Beginning

The Road to Big River, Saskatchewan

The giant Santa Claus at Watson, Saskatchewan
The giant Santa Claus at Watson, Saskatchewan

Last week, we drove to Big River, Saskatchewan, to join Jan Wood for her launch of Love is not Anonymous. (We, being Tara Gereaux with Size of a Fist, and me, Shelley Banks, with Exile on a Grid Road, along with my partner.)

It was a mini-reading tour that also included Regina and Saskatoon, planned to celebrate our books that were published at the same time.

I’ve never been to Big River. Never been further north in Saskatchewan than Batoche. And so the drive was both familiar and new…

Continue reading The Road to Big River, Saskatchewan

Exile on a Grid Road officially launched

Shelley Banks, with Exile on a Grid Road book and banner.
Shelley Banks, with Exile on a Grid Road book and banner..

Book launch? Check. Finished. Official.

All done but all the things still yet to do. And the readings this week I’m looking forward to in Big River and Saskatoon, SK.

But now, a moment just to celebrate! My manuscript has become a book, and I read from it to a packed room at Bushwakkers in Regina last week, along with co-launchers Tara Gereaux and Jan Wood. Continue reading Exile on a Grid Road officially launched

Creating a site icon

Blue-eyed Grass — a larger view of the little icon that appears (for me, at least) on the page tabs of this site.
Blue-eyed Grass — a slightly larger view of the little icon that appears (for me, at least) on page tabs when viewing this site.

Wow — that wasn’t so hard!

(Or maybe it was, what with my computer locking up last night, but that had nothing to do with the process of creating a site icon.)

I’ve been wondering lately why my website pages show only a white square on browser tabs, while corporate and other pages display distinctive logos. Ditto, when I save a page from my site to the home screen of my iPhone.

How do they create site icons, I wondered. And today, I discovered that it’s really simple with Photoshop and WordPress.

Continue reading Creating a site icon

New Poetry Collection:
Exile on a Grid Road

Poetry, by Shelley Banks
Poetry, by Shelley Banks

I’m delighted to announce that my poetry collection, Exile on a Grid Road, is slated for publication by Thistledown Press on October 15, 2015!

My collection is part of Thistledown’s 12th New Leaf Series — Canada’s most well-established first-book program with a focus on Saskatchewan authors.

For more info on book launch and tour dates, check my site or Twitter feed (@ShelleyBanks) or follow Thistledown’s Facebook or Twitter feed (@ReadThistledown).

The full list for this year’s New Leaf series:

You can order any or all of these online.

Happy reading!

My poem is read at Government House

What a treat! At the Poetry Month reading at Government House on Wednesday, Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Judith Krause read one of my poems!

Saskatchewan Poet Laureate with fellow poets Bruce Rice and dee Hobsbawn-Smith, greeting Her Honour, Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
Saskatchewan Poet Laureate with fellow poets and Saskatchewan Book Awards/Poetry nominees Bruce Rice and dee Hobsbawn-Smith, greeting Her Honour, Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield.

Judy also very graciously told the audience about… Surprise! My forthcoming poetry collection, Exile on a Grid Road, to be published by Thistledown Press in Fall 2015!

What a treat, indeed! (And the readings by Judith Krause, Bruce Rice and dee Hobsbawn-Smith were wonderful! Good luck to all at the Saskatchewan Book Awards next Saturday.)

More on my book to come…

Shelley Banks — the Beach

Standing on the beach with my name
High tide at the beach with my name. Shelley Banks, at Dublin’s Shelley Banks (or Shellybanks) Beach

Across the harbour from Dublin, there is a beach with my name. The Shelley Banks, or Shellybanks.

I hadn’t realized I was a landform — or that I was perhaps named for one, so I’ll accept it as a coincidence of history and geography that we found this in Ireland, my great-grandparents’ homeland.

“I am a rock,” sings Paul Simon.

I am a beach.

We visited on a rainy October day, when the tide was high and Kittwakes and red-billed Oyster Catchers clustered on thin strips of sand, feathers fluffed and bodies turned against the wind.

2015 Sage Hill Writing Experience Deadlines

The deadline to apply for the Sage Hill Writing Experience summer session is getting closer—March 23, 2015. This is a great program, which this summer will feature classes by Canadian writers Steven Heighton, Alissa York, Miriam Toews, Denise Chong, Wayson Choy, Merilyn Simonds and Wayne Grady.

And, for any poets who want to work with Don McKay at Sage Hill this spring, that deadline is March 6, 2015. Friday. This week.

The Sage Hill Writing Experience offers small classes with time to write and network. Past instructors include Lawrence Hill (The Book of Negroes), who visited Saskatchewan last fall a for Sage Hill fundraiser. (A few of my photos from that event appear below.)

This year, the program is moving to Cedar Lodge on Blackstrap Lake near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. For details on how to apply,  see the Sage Hill Writing website.