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  • Is
  • Written by Anne Simpson
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780771080517
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A stunning new book of poems from the Griffin Poetry Prize-winning author of Loop.
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.



before you were a cell, dividing into cells and more cells—


before blue before blue deepening and unwinding inside blue before bluegrey before the envelope of morning before opening the crisp envelope of morning before afternoon and afternoon’s picked threads before evening before the scattering of evening’s fish scales before crumpled dark before tarnished dark before glovesoft dark before world not yet world


all undone and unmade thick and ancient furred by weather not yet weather creased and lined rock and water linen-thin water and rock unseamed bulky dense and smooth not birth not death both icy and steamy sounds not yet sounds darkness before darkness and light before light beginning and ending ending and beginning woven and braided and woodsmoke fragrant and not woodsmoke fragrant shot through with glistening and murmuring unmurmuring cloud of murmuring also glistening linen-thin water and rock rock and water unseamed furred by the weather not furred lined creased steamy and icy smooth not birth not death all undone done made and unmade
Anne Simpson

About Anne Simpson

Anne Simpson - Is

Photo © Kate Waters

ANNE SIMPSON is the author of four books of poetry, Is (2011); Quick (2007), winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award; Loop (2003), winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize; and Light Falls Through You (2000), winner of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Prize and the Atlantic Poetry Prize. She has also written two novels, Falling (2008), longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and winner of the Dartmouth Award for Fiction, and Canterbury Beach (2001). Her book of essays, The Marram Grass: Poetry and Otherness (2009), delves into issues of poetry, art, and empathy. While her home is in Nova Scotia, she has been a writer-in-residence at many universities and libraries across Canada.



Praise for Anne Simpson:
"With the experimentalism of Anne Carson and the imagism of Anne Michaels, Anne Simpson explores the globe of the heart."
— Halifax Chronicle-Herald

"Anne Simpson's voice is instantly recognizable. . . . [She writes] poems of extraordinary range, intelligence and empathy." 
— Jury citation, Pat Lowther Memorial Award

"Simpson turns our attention to the sharp edges of life, and she does it with language that juxtaposes beauty with death, creating internal tension in the poems. Simpson looks at death and loss with an unsentimental eye." 
Canadian Literature

"With its strong lyric voice and simple yet dynamic forms, [Simpson's work] draws you and draws you in. Simpson's intelligent poetic language renders, in three dimensions, images of compelling resonance. . . ." 
Quill & Quire

  • Is by Anne Simpson
  • March 29, 2011
  • Poetry - Canadian; Poetry
  • McClelland & Stewart
  • $18.99
  • 9780771080517

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