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Tuesday January 21, 2014 in Books


By Nikki Reimer

In this quick-witted collection of poems, Nikki Reimer mines the language of new media – hashtags, YouTube comments, Twitter updates – to defamiliarize the very substance of modern life: the constellation of media-enforced ideals that barrage our newsfeeds, daily commutes to #work, and (mostly online) excursions to the (Apple) store. #nuffsaid

DOWNVERSE soothes the oversaturated reader. A natural translator, Reimer writes for anyone who has felt overwhelmed by the phrase “never read the comments.” Paying close attention to musicality and her own poetic process, Reimer guides found text into whiplike stanzas with original typos intact.

Conscious of its birthplace, DOWNVERSE crafts both an ode to and an elegy for Vancouver’s middle-class, Gen-Y, millennial angst, and even Vancouver itself – not the physical place, but rather the idea of #Vancouver, presented through images plastered over billboards and stamped into Special Edition footwear. In its shifty way, Reimer’s text alternates between the voices of Vancouver’s youth- and consumer-driven populace, asking the question, “What happens when the Market is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?”

He had everything he had hoped to have by that age – a well-paying job, a new house, a fancy car, true love – but he still couldn’t shake his jitters. What the hell do you know about layout, anyhow? And so, on the afternoon of the actual day, he swung by his doctor and had several units of Botox injected into the slight furrows in his brow. It was past midnight when we realized that the sunscreen we were wearing had sparkles. Thirty may have felt old to him, but there was no reason he had to look it.

ISBN 13: 9780889228542 | ISBN 10: 088922854X
5 W x 8.5 H inches | 128 pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE011000
Paperback Edition


“Reimer’s basic technique in DOWNVERSE is to crash differing registers of discourse against one another to explore how they function as, on some level, the same register, a short-circuiting that often has comedic effects. … Reimer captures, collages, and excavates language with an ear for its sometimes hidden, sometimes painfully obvious, political dimensions. DOWNVERSE elegantly and often comically questions what poetry might have to do with the language that makes up our world – or might have to do now, since this language has sped past our poetry.”
—Jonathan Ball, 95Books.com

“Humorous and sharply critical. Reimer immerses her writing within the conditions of millennials – a generation of supposedly disappointed and disenfranchised persons faced with social, economic, and political uncertainty. Employing tactics of erasure, collage, and unconventional typography, DOWNVERSE intervenes into and reconfigures the linguistic materials of new media to work through these issues in a way that is reflective of the disjunctive information age, but also critical of the conditions that come with it. …  Both a lament and an expression of frustration, DOWNVERSE perfectly captures the cynicism of a generation, but also represents a desire to find a pathway out of these mired conditions. ”
Canadian Literature

“If Downverse succeeds where other works in a similar mien do not, it is because Reimer articulates a counter-grammar to its own cliché-laden registers. What Reimer ultimately delivers is a poetics of conjunction itself, a poetics in which even disjunction is a form of joining. Downverse is the reliquary appropriate to this alchemy of joining, and the multifarious, obstinate objects you will find within it become ever more fascinating as you turn them over in your hands.”
Ethos Review

“Nikki Reimer’s DOWNVERSE registers the commotion of noise when it’s pronounced choice in the heated work of poetic composition. Right there, at the edge of the word, the phrase, the pronoun, the vortex of the sudden twists in the urgency of procedure. Her poetry has more to do with being there than getting there; each moment in the language opts for the next now. The advantage of total assault in this performance is understanding by immersion. Placed, justifiably, in the pantheon of recent city poems, the section ‘vancouverlament’ opens with ‘haute action material,’ a title that also accurately underscores this collection of writing as hot!”
—Fred Wah

“The poems in DOWNVERSE are centered in rage, boredom, grief, confusion and despair. Reimer displays a mistrust in the poem, while concurrently stretching the scope of what just might be possible.”
The Small Press Book Review

About the Contributors

Nikki Reimer

Nikki Reimer’s first book of poetry, [sic] (Frontenac House, 2010), was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. She has published three chapbooks: that stays news (Nomados Press, 2011), haute action material (Heavy Industries, 2011), and fist things first (Wrinkle Press, 2009). Her poetry, artwork, and criticism have appeared in various places, online and off. Reimer has lived in Calgary, and Vancouver, and Calgary again, where she is currently director of the Chris Reimer Legacy Fund Society.


Nikki Reimer

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