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I received a copy of Vanes­sa Mak­i’s social media isn’t what’s killed me for review pur­pos­es. As always, this review reflects only my hon­est thoughts on the book.

social media isn’t what’s killed me
by Vanessa Maki

Pub­li­ca­tion Date: 2018
eBook; 26 Pages

Genre: Poet­ry Chapbook

social media isn’t what’s killed me is an exper­i­men­tal visu­al chap­book. The con­cept comes from the idea that social media is sim­ply a destruc­tive thing. Where­as social media isn’t what’s “killed” me but oth­er things in my life have. The poems focus on rela­tion­ships as well as men­tal health issues/topics.


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My Review

I’ve fol­lowed Vanes­sa on Twit­ter for a while now and have real­ly liked the snip­pets of her work I’ve seen.  I was for­tu­nate enough to have a pho­to, Rose Quartz & Rose­mary, appear recent­ly in rose quartz mag­a­zine, of which she’s the EIC.  But social media isn’t what killed me was my first real taste of her work.  Suf­fice it to say, it’s cer­tain­ly solid­i­fied my place as a fan!

The unique for­mat­ting of this book was the first thing to catch my eye.  The vibrant cov­er hints at what’s to come, but I did­n’t ini­tial­ly realise that the pieces inside are just as won­der­ful­ly exper­i­men­tal. Each page is set up like the cov­er, with a social media-style post show­cas­ing each poem.

In a world where you can hop on a social media plat­form and find some sort of poet­ry, this chap­book remains refresh­ing.  Even in its dig­i­tal form, it unites social media and more tra­di­tion­al plat­forms in an engag­ing way.

Like any good visu­al poems, these pieces give the read­er a lot to think about, even beyond the words (which are won­der­ful in and of them­selves). How many likes did this post/poem receive?  Are there any com­ments?  The irre­sistible urge to read the com­ments sec­tion and engage with online posts is as preva­lent in this book as in scrolling through Twit­ter.  The pieces, for the most part, include a blank space prompt­ing you to “add a com­ment” and it’s hard to resist.

Per­haps because I’m a writer myself, I could­n’t help think­ing about Mak­i’s writ­ing and com­pi­la­tion process.  Did she orig­i­nal­ly post the pieces to her own social media pages? Or are these inter­ac­tions them­selves a part of the writ­ing process?  How did she deter­mine what plat­form would be used for each? What­ev­er the case, there’s a sort of gen­uine qual­i­ty to these details that I absolute­ly loved.  This book draws read­ers in and I can’t help but won­der: what does that say about social media itself?

And, of course, the most impor­tant part of any col­lec­tion: the poems them­selves. Skim­ming through the book a third time, I think “6 facts,” “the bed we made,” and “i want to for­get” may be my favourites.  These poems delve into rela­tion­ships, men­tal health, and more, giv­ing the read­er insight into the speaker–one who’s intrin­si­cal­ly tied with the author as they note who’s made each post.

As a whole, I real­ly enjoyed this chap­book and I think it’s cer­tain­ly one I’ll return to.

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About the Author

Vanes­sa Maki is a writer & artist who dab­bles in many lit­er­ary gen­res & art forms. She’s from a small city in BC, Cana­da that she finds is irrel­e­vant.  She loves exper­i­men­tal work & top­ics she often explores are black­ness, queer iden­ti­ty, men­tal health issues & rela­tion­ships.  Out­side of that she enjoys writing/creating work about TV, film, music, & polit­i­cal top­ics.  She is EIC of rose quartz mag­a­zine (for­mer­ly rose quartz jour­nal which was found­ed in May 2018) which is a literary/arts mag­a­zine for queer women (or wom­xn) and is a colum­nist for TERSE jour­nal + Pussy Magic.

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