“My mother was built from faux wood paneling
and my father just loved to rattle her walls, such a
small room he kept her in, loved to force his big
shoulders through all her doorways”
-from Hera VI
Sometimes words are just plain sexy. Not necessarily saying sexy things, but they look so fine with their curves and lines, all stiff and voluptuous, looking like a secret & sweat soaked dance party on the page. Lauren Banka’s work does that for me. Her work as a text artist so empowers her poetry to be nothing short of visually stunning and clap worthy (not applause, but clap. Her work makes me wanna bounce all kinds of ways). Lauren feels like a poet of many hands, able to hold in her hands race, gender, sexuality, survival, addiction, & so many other things with equal weight in her hands, able to offer each one and then pull it back in a flash. Lauren’s work toys with us. We are sometimes too caught in the beauty of the words to notice the beast that lurks in the lines, often too amused by Lauren’s wit and humor to realize that nothing in the landscape she maps should be laughed at until it’s too late. Lauren hides brilliance within brilliance, able to layer her work like a good onion, and we peel and peel until we find ourselves in tears, sometimes from the hurt, some from the overwhelming amounts of joy for love and life. In that same layered vein, Lauren is able to lift her poetry off the page and into the air in the same way. Her stage presence is riveting to watch, able to the rise and cool your blood at will, giving her poems the exact voice in performance that they are asking for in text. And she fly. What more could you want? People of the world, I need you to get into Lauren Banka. Her work is delicious, nutritious, and part of a balanced life. Amen.