Anne Simpson has launched another book of poetry.
The Antigonish author will unveil Strange Attractor Thursday (Sept. 19) at the Red Sky Gallery on Main Street.
The celebration will get underway at 7 p.m.
“It focuses on the self – an exploration of how it changes over time,” Simpson said, when asked about the theme for the pieces found on the pages of Strange Attractor.
“I was curious about the fluidity of this idea of the self.”
Each poem explores aspects of the ‘self,’ including who we are and how we change while dealing with an illness.
Some of the poems focus on dementia, using questions from the mini-mental state exam, which she learned about from her friend Dr. Liz Brennan.
“I imagined giving an answer in an unusual way,” Simpson said, reflecting on her thinking about what it would be like to be asked those questions.
She created a character that can’t provide the correct answers, but the reader still learns about her great imagination.
“It is not like that for me,” Simpson said, when asked about selecting a favourite piece from her latest publication.
She compared trying to do so to choosing a favourite piece of art in a gallery.
“It is the sum of the parts that makes the book,” Simpson added.
Strange Attractor is her eighth book – the fifth one focussed on poetry.
“I am honest with myself when I think something is not good enough,” Simpson said, noting the development – as a writer – of her ability to recognize her strengths and weaknesses.
Describing having a book published as a “gift,” Simpson said it is an even greater one, if it is poetry.
Although it is something people do not read often, if at all, anymore, poetry is “what’s at the heart of things for people.”
She explained poetry often takes a prominent position during special times in life, including births, marriages and deaths.
“We often turn to it,” Simpson said.
It provides us with the words we want to say when we really need it.
McClelland & Stewart, now part of Penguin Random House, is the publisher of Strange Attractor.
“It feels like it is never going to end,” Simpson said, with a laugh, of the editing process, describing it as “long.”
She credited the publisher for their “great care” in putting together the collection.
At the upcoming book launch, Simpson has asked people to read some of her pieces.
“I thought [the poem] was kind of like that person,” she noted, in describing how she match someone with a particular poem.
Simpson said there is even someone going to take the stage that has “probably never read poetry.”
“And there will be a little bit of me [reading] at the end,” she quipped.
Strange Attractor is available at the St. F.X. Campus Store, Bookmark in Halifax and Charlottetown and on Amazon.ca.