Experiments in Distant Influence: Notes and Poems

Experiments-in-Distant-Influence - Cover

In these essays and poems, Anne Simpson embraces the robust role that literature can play in helping us to navigate our relationship with the world. Whether she’s meditating on the nature of artistic collaboration, poetry’s ability to have an impact everyday life, the commonalties between the practice of writing and the practice of spirituality, or the prospect of hope and courage in the face of illness and death, Simpson approaches her subjects with intense curiosity and a deep empathy for both the human and non-human phenomena she encounters, recognizing the complex ecology of our communities and how, through practising the attentiveness poetry fosters, we might help each other flourish.

2020 / Canadian Poetry, books and Reading / $28.95
9781554472017 / Trade paper / 208 pp

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Award-winning poets Anne Simpson and Annick MacAskill stop by the University of King’s College campus in Halifax, Nova Scotia to talk about their newest books published by Gaspereau Press.

Strange Attractor: Poetry

“All of us are many selves within our lifetimes, one that is thrust upon us at birth, shaped during youth, and reconstructed throughout our lives. Who is this self? Who is this self in relation to others? In the coming-to-be of childhood or In the midst of illness, we face an unknown self within the one that is known. Even after death, we appear as fluid as water in the memories of those who knew us best. Strange Attractor reveals our multiple, shifting selves with power and tenderness, as if Simpson were showing us how to shed our skins.”

Strange Attractor

23 collections of Canadian poetry to watch for this fall

Is: Poetry

A cell is a world within a world within a world. In this remarkable new collection, Anne Simpson finds form and inspiration in the cell – as it divides and multiplies, expanding beyond its borders.

As these poems journey from the creation of the world emerging out of chaos to the slow unravelling of a life that is revealed in a poem that twists like a double helix, Simpson illuminates what it means to be alive, here and now.

Rich with the muscular craft, vibrant imagery, and exquisite musicality for which her poetry is widely acclaimed, this collection sees Simpson continuing to “negotiate an ever-changing path between language and structure” (Vancouver Sun) – with astonishing results.

It is a work of great vision from one of our most compelling poetic voices.

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Quick: Poetry


The human body is a world. How it contains all that it does, how it is altered, and how it is transformed after death are the concerns of Quick, a new collection of poetry from one of Canada’s most exciting poets.

From the shock of a near-fatal car accident to a meditation on the body as one world within other, larger worlds, the book becomes an anatomy in itself.

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Kindle Edition

Loop: Poetry


In Loop, Anne Simpson explores the power, and the anguish, of many different modes of return – retrieval, revision, the covering of old ground with eyes wider and thoughts reconditioned by difficult wisdom. These poems occur at that place where a focused, compassionate vision comes to inhabit language and to find the forms that will suffice: a Möbius strip poem that loops back on itself; a crown of sonnets that take us back to the shock and grief of the twin towers and find deep resonance with paintings by Brueghel; a set of quick improvisations like the motion studies done for a drawing class.

Simpson’s work shows us, again and again, the insight and excitement that come from the practice of a necessary craft in the service of a committed vision.

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Amazon.CA – Loop by Anne Simpson

Light Falls Through You: Poetry


Sensuously attentive to the world, intensely imagined, and musically driven, Light Falls Through You is a book that remembers the victims – of war, of atrocity, of casual violence – and calls upon language to render homage. Whether she is bringing poetry elegiacally to the service of an individual, to the masses of Rwandan dead or the casualties of the Montreal massacre, Anne Simpson writes with meditative insight balanced by imaginative reach and an intense musicality. In “Usual Devices” she gives an account of the Trojan War in a sequence about punctuation marks, deftly and wittily revealing the entrenchment of epic violence in the ordinary traffic signs of syntax. And the book’s closing poem weaves an altarpiece appropriate to our time out of everyday elements, a homemade icon whose yearning toward coherence, toward closure and hope, is a brave, articulate music for the century’s end. From that place “where we came into it/with our disbelief,” Simpson’s poems point to the imaginative place where “we remember the miraculous.”

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