Published November 2021
Hi-Viz is my second full collection. It features more poems on family, love, loss and even chip shops. The book is beautifully produced and designed by the team at Yaffle Press, including Mark Connors (content editor), Mike Farren and Lorna Faye Dunsire. If you enjoyed Communing and We Are All Lucky, you won’t be disappointed!
Paperback – 62pp with French Flaps (!)
Cover price: £10
Praise for Hi-Viz:
“Hi-Viz is a collection that explores how we define ‘home’. There’s an earthy urbanness to the poems, they dig down into a hard edged, halogen lit world, they walk in the sunlight and hear the world turning around them, they sing to the reader about place and purpose, the necessity of survival wherever you lay your hat. A collection to return to, this one.”
“In Hi-Viz, Ben Banyard shines a light on the poignancy of the everyday. Here, routine places such as the local football club, chippy, shopping mall, caravan park, become something special, showing how life-affirming these locations, and the people we observe in them, can be. This collection also explores major events within the circle of life: the miracle of birth, the magnitude of parenthood, the grief of loss. All are handled with a wise, gentle touch. Whether examining the micro or macro, Banyard’s experiences always feel relatable. These poems simultaneously give us a window into Banyard’s life, and insight into our own.”
“You can almost hear Ben Banyard’s heart beating in Hi-Viz, his third collection. Sitting in middle age, his poems cover all of life’s bases; passing grandparents, growing children, caravan holidays, shopping malls and gentrification, housing estates and workers. Including all the vital ingredients of love, loss, family and friends, this is a beautiful paean to our shifting times.”
“Overall, it is an impressive performance. Though the casual reader might see Banyard as the laureate of the pound shop, a promenade Larkin nailing prickly caricatures to the page … he achieves far more than this. Blending acute social observation with unflinching realism, a search for meaning and the consistent attribution of dignity to even the most strained of settings, the poet forges his own distinct poetic milieu – Banyardland, perhaps.”
James Roderick Burns – London Grip – full review
Order a signed copy direct from the poet! Sorry, I am unable to post internationally.
Special Offer – Order Hi-Viz and We Are All Lucky for £17.00 including UK second class P&P
Here there’s no up or down,
we’re in the middle, centred.
We see missiles hurtle overhead
from north to south and back again.
We grew up in the Bull Ring,
flaunt our bab, bostin’, deaf it,
on the way to the outdoor
for a bottle of pop.
We are Julie Walters, Jasper Carrott,
UB40, Ozzy Osbourne.
We’ve seen and made it all;
two centuries of sweat and beer,
Spaghetti Junction hearts.
ought to have retired eight years ago
but he’s on the bus by 5am every morning,
an apparition in orange hi-viz.
I see him around the city pushing his barrow.
We stop to catch up with news,
how everyone still lives in the same houses
except the problem family with the wild kids
who were moved on, and now there are no more
police raids in the middle of the night.
Imagine being 73 and picking litter in the rain.
He always works overtime, barely takes a holiday,
just the odd bacon sandwich at the depot to look forward to.
And one day I’ll realise that I haven’t seen him
for weeks, and wonder what that means.
How You’ll Describe Me to Your Grandchildren
I like to make you laugh, but worry
that’s not the substance fathers are made of.
Tell them I was funny, then, if you like,
but don’t be afraid to say that I shouted sometimes.
Remember that the times you said I was being mean,
I was tired, or sad, or worried, or afraid.
You are such good, clever, unfathomable children,
but it’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes.
Right now, you think I can repair everything you break
but I might let you down on that score one day.
In fact, tell them what you like about me, I won’t know.
But please give them my love.
Join us with matches and lighter fluid,
dredging up bonfire tips from cub scouts.
The weather forecast is to be disbelieved:
there must be sunshine. The clouds will part.
A neighbour pokes his nose over the fence.
We hope he doesn’t pop round with Blue Nun again.
The household’s male elder wears an apron,
spends the afternoon with his back to the guests.
We bob for cans in a plastic bucket,
dizzy with a dozen brands of lager and cider.
An implausible amount of burnt meat is consumed.
Most of us have sauce smeared on our cheeks.
Someone we don’t know is found asleep in a bedroom.
A couple, married to other people, are discovered in the downstairs loo.
On their way out, everyone says
We must do this again!
No-one means it.
To contact me in order to arrange a guest reading at your local poetry group or festival, please email me at bbanyard [at] yahoo [dot] com, or contact me via my Facebook page: facebook.com/benbanyardpoet