Avila Home Page
Helpful Links
Avila University - Be Inspired
> AU Home    > Admission    > Academics    > English
English with emphasis in writing, rhetoric or literature

News & Events on

Department of English & Foreign Languages
816-501-3652 | Email Us

Avila University
11901 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64145

Artist in Residence - Stanley Banks

stan banks

Stanley E. Banks [bio]
Artist in Residence
Assistant Professor of English

B.A., M.A., University of Missouri-Kansas City
Curriculum Vitae

(816) 501-3679


Personal Statement
As Avila’s Artist-in-Residence, my main objective is to bring visibility to the university’s Creative Writing emphasis in the English major. The writing of poetry, short stories, and plays is an extremely popular pursuit by more and more professionals, students, and the general public in the contemporary world. Even before coming to Avila, I took on the cause of broadening the audience for writers in all genres.

Further, as Artist-in-Residence, I am joining a great tradition of artists who believe strongly that the world needs and must know about the importance of the imagination as it relates to Creative Writing. As a result, I see myself as an ambassador for Avila to the community, state, and nation. I know Avila’s Creative Writing students will go on to be serious professional writers. Finally, it is my intention to create a reputation for Avila as a place that allows one’s creative muse to flourish

Awards & Recognition

2002   Kansas City, Missouri Mayor’s Recognition Proclamation Award
    The United Minority Media Asso. Leadership Award from the Midwest-
Southeast Regional Conf.
    The Special Exhibit of Stanley E. Banks’ Life and Literature at the Black Archives of Mid-America, Inc.
2000   Writers Place Award in Kansas City, Missouri
1989   The National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship/Grant for Creative Writing
1987   Future Playwrights of America Institute Playwriting Award from the University of Missouri-Kansas City
1981   The Langston Hughes Prize For Poetry from BookMark Press, University of Missouri-Kansas City
1979   The English Department Award at University of Missouri-Kansas City

Books / Publications

  • On 10th Alley Way. Kansas City: BookMark Press, 1980.
  • Coming From a Funky Time and Place. Kansas City: The Georgia A.B. Press, 1988.
  • Rhythm and Guts. Kansas City: The Georgia A.B. Press, 1992.
  • Blue Beat Syncopation . Kansas City: BookMark Press, 2003.


  • “Uncle Orie.” The English Journal. Ed. Stephen N. Judy. East Lansing, Michigan: National Council of Teachers of English, 1979: 29.
  • “Dee.” Shooting Star Review. Eds. E. Ethelbert Miller et al. Pittsburgh, PA: Shooting Star Productions, Inc., 1990: 14.
  • “Huey Newton Sang His Song.” The Berkeley Poetry Review. Eds. Natalia Apostolos and Jonathan Bradford Brennan. Berkeley, CA: The Berkeley Poetry Review, 1991: 49.
  • “Ghosts After 27 Years.” I. Ed. Stephen Caldwell Wright et al. Sanford, Florida: The Seminole Press, 1998: 46.
  • “Annihilation No. 7-11.” Memories & Memoirs. Ed. Sharon Kinney Hanson. Warrensburg, MO: The Mid-America Press, Inc., 2000: 8.
  • “Dysfunctioning.” Emerson of Harvard: A Celebrative Bicentennial Anthology to Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Ed. John H. Morgan. Bristol, IN: Quill Books, 2003: 4.
  • “On Composing the Personal Poem.” Veterans’ Voices. Ed. Margaret Clark. Mission, Kansas: Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project, Inc., Spring 2002: 2.


A Black And Blue Woman
She hates being the head
     of the house,
     would rather blast the radio loud,
     let B.B. King pick her troubles away.
When two policemen woke her
in the middle of the night
     with news that her youngest son
     had been murdered,
     she got mad with B.B. King
     for twenty-four hours straight.
Three months later her husband
     of twenty-five years
     was found bled to death
     with two bullet wounds
     in his throat and neck
     made by a Saturday Night Special.
When a doctor called
to tell her what had happened,
     she cursed him and the males
     in her family,
     slammed down the telephone receiver,
     ripped open a can of beer,
     fussed with God,
     pleaded for B.B. King
to wail away her deep, dark blues.


Blown into two pieces
by a blast from a sawed-off shotgun;
     that’s all his family
     can remember sometimes.
Newspaper articles were written
as though he were born
a vicious street punk.
But, this fragile gangster
     with a chipped front tooth
     and ears that seemed
     bigger than his head
     never got the chance
     to mature into
     a good citizen.
In a photograph of
him at age four,
that his mother sleeps with
under her pillow,
he has vanilla ice cream and snot
smeared from chin to forehead
     while walking gently
     with a load
     in the seat
     of his pants.
  America Are We Safe, Were We Ever
Will we ever let America
     Be true to her huddled masses?
Why do we glorify myths,
     stereotype the least amongst us,
get outraged only by
     some atrocities?
America, is a little starving,
     some homelessness,
     factions of racism tolerable?
Are we safe among ourselves?
     Will a jail on every corner
     be enough?
Can our pop musicians play
     our troubles into oblivion?
Can we be truly free
     if a few do away with liberties
     they think unnecessary?
Will it matter in the
21 st Century if the
     O’s in the ozone are massive,
if the planet is a
     totally polluted place,
if hazardous waste makes all of us
     other kinds of human beings?
Should we count on scientists
     producing enough genetically
     perfect human beings?
Maybe one day our lives
     will be fairy tales—
the Brothers Grimm our gods,
     and even then can any
     of us guarantee that
     the bogeyman won’t visit.