Advertising speaks to its audience directly, addressing “you.” But who is this person, this “you” that advertising addresses? Poets and Killers answers this question by telling the life story of a man through advertising. Beginning in the 1940s when he is born, working up to 2010 when he dies, Poets and Killers uses lines taken directly from advertisements to write the main character’s biography. This book examines what it means to be an individual in a world where we are all sold the same individuality, exploring what possibilities for a non-utilitarian humanity still exist between the lines of advertising copy. By using the language of advertising to create something fundamentally unmarketable and useless, that is, the story of a fallible human life expressed through experimental poetry, Poets and Killers shows that despite the pervasiveness of advertising and its efforts to rob us of the ability to express ourselves without commodifying ourselves, we can still speak.
Helen Hajnoczky holds a BA Honours in English and Creative Writing from the University of Calgary, where her research focused on contemporary feminist avant-garde poetics. Her work has appeared in fillingStation, Matrix, NoD, Rampike, and Speechless magazines, as well as in a variety of chapbooks. She has served as assistant editor of NoD, as poetry editor of fillingStation, and has been a weekly contributor to the literary blog Lemon Hound.
“Poets and Killers playfully investigates what it means to be ‘an individual in a world where we are all sold the same individuality.’” — Globe and Mail
“Poets and Killers: A Life in Advertising is a great book to introduce a hesitant poetry reader to contemporary poetics.” — 95 Books
“…a quick, quirky read…” — Winnipeg Free Press
“I read it in under an hour and I felt like it changed me.” – The Link
“Poets and Killers is a shining example of thoughtful and provoking appropriation-based poetry… an excellent start to a body of work worth reading.” — Broken Pencil