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How do we find our way back through the labyrinth, through the dark forest? With a thread, with a trail of breadcrumbs? Glen Downie traces a path back to the now dimly remembered pre-digital age using a ribbon—a typewriter ribbon. What was once a fishing line to the future now sits nestled in its decorated tin among other flea market finds, a remnant of an obsolete technology. In Democratic Beauties, a book of poetic and imaginative criticism with colour images, Downie sifts through the detritus of our rapidly changing consumer culture and decodes, for its surprisingly contemporary relevance, much that has already become perplexing and mysterious. In an uncommon blend of the lyric, the narrative and the visual, Downie invites consideration of what old tins, labels, and bits of found text tell us about women in the workforce, our relationship to technology, the values of Business Mind, and that which utility cannot long ignore—beauty.
Praise for Glen Downie’s previous work
LOCAL NEWS (2011): Jangling with surreal vibrancy and suffused with a sinister edginess, many of these poems have a sting in the tail. … an insightful psychological intelligence runs through the book. … a fascinating collection—funny, dark, conflicted. —Miranda Pearson, Event
LEFT FOR RIGHT (2012): A “cabinet of mysteries” is … on display in Glen Downie’s Left for Right… Some of those mysteries are bizarre and surrealistic, while others are grounded in the familiar, seen in a fanciful light. … Downie’s lyric voice hits all the right notes in this accomplished, wide-ranging collection.—Barb Carey, Toronto Star
Glen Downie was born in Winnipeg, worked in cancer care for many years in Vancouver, and now lives in Toronto. In 1999, he served as Writer-in-Residence at Dalhousie University’s Medical Humanities Program. He has published several collections of poetry including Loyalty Management, which won the 2008 Toronto Book Award. His most recent books are Monkey Soap and Left for Right.