REVIEWS / BLURBS
"Vanessa Maki is a writer whose poetry burns, stings and causes you to rage. In ctrl - alt - delete, love leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, identity is a cloak of deception and mental health presents itself as a oddity enclosed in glass case to be scrutinized. The juxtaposition of these themes with its 'computer generated' presentation and language adds an extra layer of abstruseness to Maki's poetic ideology. It is a constant battle of destroy or be destroyed, or in this case, ctrl or be deleted. This debut collection aggressively cracks the top off what we understand about experimentation in poetry and pours pop rocks into the wound. "
- Afieya K
IT'S UGLY IN HERE
social media isn't what's killed me
"Vanessa Maki's social media isn't what's killed me is the vibrant combination of vulnerable poetry in a hypermodern visual presentation. Acutely self-aware, social media isn't what's killed me exudes the deliciously voyeuristic sensation of reading an ex's private social media posts. As reader we are invited into Maki's words, presented unapologetically in a refreshing twist on a familiar format. Altering the templates that we see daily, Maki's poems rethink what it means to expose oneself for likes and invites the reader beyond the "add as friend" button into the brutally honest and artfully detailed complexities of loving oneself and others. "
- Sara Matson
Venus Davis' review
the chosen one
Jessica Drake-Thomas review
Abigail Stewart review
"Vanessa Maki's the chosen one is a testament to survival, to the splendor of reinventing the infamous Buffy character as a black woman. The evils in this world include mimetic monsters-the ghasts and ghouls that haunt America. The speaker considers, "maybe i can slay / the worst of the worst / & white supremacy." At the center of this collection is a bittersweet and self-destructive chaos: even as the speaker relishes her abilities to slay the evils of her world, she also recognizes herself as a magnet for their destruction. She embodies the hellmouth. Maki writes, "this body does me no good / too much history in it." These poems show that strength and suffering lie in the same body and that both are needed to persist against all odds."
- Hannah Warren, author of [re] construction of the necromancer (Sundress Publications)
another final girl
"Vanessa Maki once again proves she is a poetic force to be reckoned with in her chapbook, "another final girl." Throughout, the chapbook dissects what it means to be a final girl. In the poem "bleed" our speaker states "/ & we wipe the blood off our skin / we clean ourselves up / make ourselves smile picture fuckin' perfect / so we can be poster girls for survival / the glimmering example for other girls." Maki goes on to challenge the visual archetype of the final girl that society puts forth, when in "picture perfect will never be me," the speaker plainly states, "the picture perfect final girl / is almost always a thin white girl / who kicks the ass of / whatever wants her dead / so when people see me / labeled as a final girl / they can't imagine it to be true."
Maki's speaker interacts with famous final girls throughout her book; they share war stories, show their scars, support one another, and are not only a mirror for the speaker, but for ourselves. Maki is bold, and she handles the theme of trauma with such care that while reading this collection, I couldn't help but think of all the other final girls in my life--how I want to share this book with them so they know they are not alone, and that surviving is constant."
- Marisa Silva-Dunbar, author of #becky and EIC of Neon Mariposa Magazine