Shifting Baseline Syndrome
SHORTLISTED FOR A 2022 GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 RAYMOND SOUSTER AWARD
INCLUDED IN CBC'S BEST POETRY BOOKS OF 2022 LIST
In Shifting Baseline Syndrome, Aaron Kreuter asks the hard questions: will the Anthropocene have a laugh track? Is it okay to marry your eighteenth cousin? How different would the world look from outside the life-frame of the human? What is it like to have an acid trip in a portapotty? Is it the end . . . of Earth? Of capitalism? Of television? Throughout Kreuter’s sophomore collection, the TV remote is never far. Shifting Baseline Syndrome is both searching and searing, veering between satire and sincerity, history and prophecy, and human and non-human worlds. As these clash ecstatically with loathing—and with the end looming—Kreuter demonstrates why we’ll keep doing what we’ve always done: hoping, for once, that the series finale will be good.
Advanced Praise for Shifting Baseline Syndrome:
"With a punk sensibility, Kreuter confronts the Anthropocene slantwise through X-Men and ancestry with biting humour, surprise, and tenderness. We discover primal interconnectedness, diasporic cousins, and the author’s radical Jewish ancestors over a pint and a piss. Shifting Baseline Syndrome is a book of poems to wake us up and rewild us."
—Shazia Hafiz Ramji, author of Port of Being
"Catastrophists take heart. “Nature isn’t dying / it’s simply revising / its target audience,” writes Aaron Kreuter. Assured, savvy, a shade neurotic, he’s holding court as the party winds down. Galloping from Queens to the Walls of Jericho, from the MEC parking lot to the Marianas Trench, from Westeros to the Cheesecake Factory, Kreuter splices a loopy narrative for our age of context collapse. What’re you in the mood for? Dark comedy? Alien sci-fi? Biopic? Reality TV? Cozy up on the couch with the remarkable Shifting Baseline Syndrome. It’s binge-worthy."
—Matthew Tierney, author of Midday at the Super-Kamiokande
"In Shifting Baseline Syndrome, everything is television: culture, the self, grief, memory, language, media and joy. And vice versa. The outside is inside, our inside is out. Movies, rivers, Florida, catastrophes, illness, grandparents, memory, cheesecake, forest fires. Let’s turn on the ontology channel, doomscroll the human, bingewatch some epistemology fails. An inventive supercut of astute surfing, Aaron Kreuter’s poems surprise, move, intrigue and delight even as they take us deeper into the disimulacrum of our contemporary moment. These are poems bright as raytubes, big screens the size of lives."
—Gary Barwin, author of For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe and Scotiabank Giller Prize shortedlisted/Governor-General’s Literary Award Finalist for Yiddish for Pirates