Robert Priest

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Robert Priest
Robert Priest.jpg
Robert Priest in 2007
Born 1951 (age 63–64)
Occupation Author
Genre Children's literature

Robert Priest (born 1951) is a British born Canadian poet, children's author and singer/songwriter. He has written ten books of poetry, two children's novels, 3 children's albums, 4 CDs of songs and poems and has often opined on CBC radio's hit spoken word show "Wordbeat" under the alias "Dr Poetry". He is well known for his aphorisms and his hit: Song Instead of a Kiss. His adult poetry is wide-ranging and much praised while his children's poetry is more tender, underpinned with a utopian hopefulness. Canadian novelist Barbara Gowdy has described him as "the voice of the people and the angels, entwined" and the Toronto star has called him "passionate, cocky, alternately adoring and insulting" Priest's plays, novels and songs, have earned him not only awards and recognition in Canadian literary circles but a growing reader/listenership world wide.


Son of a navy officer and a member of the Wrens, Robert Priest was born in Walton-on-Thames England on July 10, 1951 and emigrated to Toronto Canada at the age of four. Growing up in Scarborough, Priest developed his love of literature from the fanciful stories his mother often told him before bedtime. By the age of 8, Priest had already begun to dream of becoming a writer. In 1970, Priest entered the University of Waterloo to study mathematics but soon dropped out so that he could put all his energies towards poetry. He released his first book of poetry in 1979 entitled "The Visible Man". He has since published 9 more books of poetry, four plays, a children's novel, and a hit song. He is also a rock singer of note, having released several albums and videos which came to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s. He has also performed his children's songs for Sesame Street. Currently he is preparing his second young-adult fantasy novel "The Paper Sword" for publication in 2014 by Dundurn Press. A new book of children's poems: Rosa Rose is scheduled for a 2013 publication date with Wolsak & Wynn. He has just released his fourth CD of songs: Feeling the Pinch. He lives in Toronto with Marsha Kirzner and is a regular contributor to Toronto's weekly magazine "Now".

Awards and recognitions[edit]

The author of fourteen books of poetry, he won the Milton Acorn Memorial People's Poetry Award for The Mad Hand (1988). In his alias as Dr. Poetry he wrote and performed thirteen segments for CBC radio's spoken-word show Wordbeat. As a songwriter, he co-wrote the international number one hit, "Song Instead of a Kiss" for Alannah Myles. His aphorisms have already appeared in The Farmer's Almanac and Colombo's Canadian Quotations. He is the author of four plays, including The Coming, which was co-written with Leon Rooke. Priest's musical play Minibugs and Microchips received a Chalmer's Award. His novel, Knights of the Endless Day (1993) received an Our Choice Award from the Canadian Children's Book Centre. And as for his children's poetry, Daysongs Nightsongs and The Secret Invasion of Bananas and Other Poems (2002) are on the CBC's recommended reading list.

Selected bibliography[edit]

Adult poetry

Children's Poetry and Fiction

  • The Short Hockey Career of Amazing Jany (1986)
  • Knights of the Endless Day (1993)
  • A Terrible Case of the Stars (1994)
  • The Secret Invasion of Bananas and Other Poems (2002) ISBN 1-896860-97-4
  • The Paper Sword (2013)

External links[edit]