“Darrell Epp's poetry is just bursting with artistry, but you only notice the magic, never the technique behind it. These are, quite simply, marvelous poems..and poetry that's actually fun to read. Open up the book, read a few pages. You'll see for yourself..and if you ever get caught in the subway between stations, try to sit beside a guy like the guy who wrote these poems.”
-- David Gilmour, author of The Film Club and Back on Tuesday
“Beginning with its title, Darrell Epp’s Imaginary Maps lays out on the table its investment in a psychic territory. These short lyrics create a personal space which takes shape between stints on the couch, drives in the car, and attempts at romance. Overall, however, the collection doesn’t make grandiose movements. Rather, like the train cars that Epp makes a living locking up for CN Rail, these poems shunt along their lines, linking big, unwieldy topics like “the end of the world” and “infinity plus a day” through telling details, such as the sound “of that mouse in [the] wall.” At its best, Imaginary Maps provides deft turns of phrase and thought: “when we run out of words / we realize that we don’t need / words.” Furthermore, through self-deprecation, Epp deflates the self-absorption which is sometimes a part of the lyrical format: “And the universe, which weighs more / than I can guess, fits quite comfortably / inside my brain.”” --Canadian Literature
In his startling debut collection, Darrell Epp brings us a city haunted by monsters and movie stars, where hope and rage, sacred and carnal, mundane and surreal are uneasy neighbours. A city whose downtown swells with pleasures and pains too big for words, and where every dead end is suffused with an unbidden kindness, "an accidental choreography."
Imaginary Maps is as funny as it is sad, as entertaining as it is insightful. Terse or lyrical, his lines are always fresh, always surprising. Behind the jokes, behind the jilted lovers, werewolves, and dead celebrities lurks a deadly serious project: slowing down time in a culture obsessed with speeding it up. Savouring the precious, temporary/eternal moments, Epp reminds us that not paying attention may be the biggest crime of all.