Infinity Network

Jim Johnstone

Infinity Network completes Jim Johnstone’s ambitious trilogy which began with Dog Ear (2014) and continued with The Chemical Life (2017). Central to each volume is the struggle with identity at a time of great social change. Justifiably acclaimed for his exquisite rendering of acute states of mind, Johnstone explores pressing questions about the ubiquity of surveillance and social media, and evokes, with a powerful intelligence, the neurosis of living in a consumerism-obsessed era. Infinity Network not only attempts to capture the changing ideas of personhood, but also tries to create a new kind of verse to track it—a complex, bold, stark style able to give uncanny interiority to our digital dreads. As our lives descend further into disinformation and algorithmic control, Johnstone has emerged as the laureate of, in Keats’s words, truth “proved upon our pulses.”

Signal Editions
Poetry 2022

Reviews

"From selfhood to self-consumption, gunfire to the ‘black gasp suck(ing) back into the gun,’ the poems in Infinity Network loop, reverse, and reiterate, caught in the viral cycle that characterizes the violent, post-truth, solipsistic cultural moment. Poetry cannot, and should not, escape the consequences of the echo chamber we have made, and Johnstone is daring in his willingness to take it on—identity’s slippage, and the anxiety that comes as we commute through our days and nights, ‘the train burrowing / from station to station like a worm,’ through a network of strangers—as subject, image, and sound. Infinity Network’s diagnosis is clear: ‘The problem is / us.’ Let’s break some mirrors." —Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets

Praise for The Chemical Life:

"Images so visceral, primal—yet controlled—that they leave us disoriented, seeing double." — Marcella Huerta & Tess Liem, Montreal Review of Books

"In many ways, Johnstone is a mysterious poet. The inner world of his poems is full of strange associations and dreamlike successions of images. It is a bold, skillful sort of poetry, and it makes one curious what canyons he will attempt in the years to come." — University of Toronto Quarterly

"Johnstone's poetry is incredibly efficient; there are no wasted words. Both thematically and technically, there is a dirty edge to many of these poems, which gives them a raw and uncensored feel." — The New Quarterly

Jim Johnstone is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Chemical Life (2017). He is the recipient of a CBC Literary Award, The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and Poetry's Editors Prize for Book Reviewing. He curates the Anstruther Books imprint at Palimpsest Press, where he published The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry (2018). He lives in Toronto.

Other books by Jim Johnstone:
The Chemical Life
Dog Ear
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