New Poetry Collection:
Exile on a Grid Road

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 pre-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.


Retreating to Write at a Writing Retreat

Bench at the Abbey
Find a bench and write. (Or, if it’s this cold, stay inside – but write!)

I’m home after a long weekend at a Facilitated Writing Retreat in Muenster, Saskatchewan.

Organized by the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, this retreat is for emerging writers and features a Writer-in-Residence to provide insights and editorial guidance.  (This fall, the WiR was Reg Silvester; last fall, Kelley Jo Burke; next fall, who knows? The call for applications for the SWG WiR will go out in Summer 2015, and I’m sure someone great will again be chosen.)

Continue reading Retreating to Write at a Writing Retreat

Stumbling Across the Berlin Wall

Section of the Berlin Wall with bright graffiti, Montreal. © SB

Six years ago, while wandering through the underground shopping and business concourses of Montreal, I stumbled across the Berlin Wall.

I hadn’t realized a section of the Berlin Wall had been given to Montreal, or that it had been set up in its Centre de Commerce Mondial.

But there it was — one side grey with crude markings, the other bright with 1960s student graffitti, an eerie reminder of the divided city, one ignored (that day, at least) by the stream of underground shoppers and stockbrokers rushing by.

Continue reading Stumbling Across the Berlin Wall – or

Well, this is exciting — for me, if perhaps for few others…

My website can now be reached through either (the host site) or (the site with the at-least-for-now redirect).

My name, by either domain.

And one day soon, I shall write about my name…

Till then, here’s a shot of Shelley, at Shelley.

B.C., that is.

(And yes, that’s me. And yes, that’s is a real railway whistlestop sign, somewhere east of Prince George, somewhere west of my mountain birthplace.)


Regina Glory:
Seen on Landing at YQR

All the way from Vancouver — over the Rocky Mountain and across the Prairies  — a glory shone in front of our plane.

And when we approached for landing at the Regina International Airport, that glory turned sunset pink and gold.

I’d seen the same phenomenon on the way West, when the glory hovered below the propellers of the plane during the approach and descent into the Calgary Airport.

But this, my January landing in Regina, was magical. The glory was a circular sunset rainbow along the horizon — so beautiful, I wasn’t even sure if it was real… But I had the pictures. And it was a rare, sunset glory.

Continue reading Regina Glory:
Seen on Landing at YQR

Saskatchewan Birds in Paraguay

A Saskatchewan Meadowlark - in Paraguay's Urutau magazine.
A Saskatchewan Meadowlark – in Paraguay’s Urutau magazine.

Recently, I shared a series of my photographs of Saskatchewan birds with Dr. Alberto Yanosky, the biologist who heads BirdLife International affiliate, Guyra Paraguay.

The photos were to illustrate Dr. Yanosky’s article about his visit to Saskatchewan, the importance of protecting biodiversity and habitat, and the migratory birds shared by our two countries, Canada and Paraguay.

“We say that they decided to breed here, but they are our birds, that we lend them to you,” he explained when I met him in June.

“And you think that it is on the other side, that they are your birds, and they go south to avoid winter here.”

Shared birds. It continues to amaze me that our Prairie birds travel that far.

And what fun to receive an e-mailed copy of the July 2013 issue of Urutau Electrónico featuring the Alberto Yanosky / Shelley Banks collaboration!

Continue reading Saskatchewan Birds in Paraguay