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.
I’ve followed Vanessa on Twitter for a while now and have really liked the snippets of her work I’ve seen along the way. I was fortunate enough to have a photo, Rose Quartz & Rosemary, appear recently in rose quartz magazine, of which she’s the EIC. But it wasn’t until social media isn’t what’s killed me that I truly got a taste for her work. Suffice it to say, it’s certainly solidified my place as a fan!
When I first received my copy of social media isn’t what’s killed me, the first thing to catch my eye, naturally, was its unique formatting. The eye-catching cover (I love the purple, too!) 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 just about every 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 your Twitter feed. The pieces, for the most part, include a blank space prompting you to “add a comment” and it’s hard to resist.
Perhaps due in part to my being a writer myself, this facet in particular had me thinking about Maki’s process in writing and compiling social media isn’t what’s killed me. Were these pieces originally posted to the author’s 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. The reader is uniquely drawn in, and I can’t help but wonder just what that tells us 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 as I consider this unique form and these compelling pieces even more.
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.