Simpson, Anne 1956-
SIMPSON, Anne 1956-
Female. Born 1956.
Writer and educator. St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, writing center coordinator. University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, writer-in-residence, 2002-03.
Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia.
Lina Chartrand Award, 1997; Journey Prize (shared with Gabriella Goliger), 1997, for "Dreaming Snow"; Chapters/Robertson Davies Prize finalist, 1999, for unpublished manuscript of Canterbury Beach; Bliss Carman Poetry Award, 1999, for "Little Stories"; Gerald Lampert Award, League of Canadian Poets, 2001, Atlantic Poetry Prize, Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, 2001, and Pat Lowther Poetry Award finalist, all for Light Falls through You; Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award shortlist, 2002, for Canterbury Beach; Governor General's Literary Award nominee, for Loop.
Light Falls through You (poetry), McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
Canterbury Beach, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
Loop (poetry), McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
Contributor to anthologies, including Words out There: Women Poets in Atlantic Canada, 1999, and Atlantica: Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland, edited by Lesley Choyce, Goose Lane Editions, 2001.
Anne Simpson is an award-winning Canadian author of poetry and fiction. Her first poetry collection, Light Falls through You, an "exceedingly melancholy" work, according to Toronto Globe & Mail contributor Fraser Sutherland, received the Gerald Lampert Award and the Atlantic Poetry Prize. "Writing predominantly in effective free verse," observed Geoffrey Cook in the Danforth Review online, "Simpson has a predilection for the unrhymed couplet … suitable both to the epiphanic, lyric insight, and narrative momentum—both of which we get in clear language with a startling emotional and intellectual resonance of imagery and metaphor."
In 2001 Simpson published Canterbury Beach, a novel that "unfolds like a long letter from an old friend," wrote Quill & Quire reviewer Stephanie Domet. In the work, a Nova Scotia family prepares for their annual summer trek to Maine. Only five adults gather this year, and during the two-day trip, "Loves lost are revisited, new ones wished for are dissected in their emptiness, leaving flawed marriages still taking breath, for better or worse," in the words of Danforth Review online contributor Shane Neilson. Most critics praised Canterbury Beach, though some, like W. P. Kinsella in Books in Canada, felt the work lacks drama. As Kinsella wrote, "We get to know several of the characters fairly well, but their lives are not exciting enough for us to really care." Toronto Globe & Mail contributor Jim Bartley, however, felt that the author movingly depicts a "sense of human fragility. Simpson shows the ways we can hurt and be hurt in unsparing detail—whether a betraying glance, a few insensitive or angry words, or a fistfight."
In Loop Simpson offers a collection of poems notable for their "strong lyric voice and simple yet dynamic forms," as Heather Fitzgerald explained in her review for Quill & Quire. "Möbius Strip," perhaps the most visually impressive poem in the book, literally loops back upon itself. On the McClelland & Stewart Web site, Simpson wrote that experimenting with form also allows her to experiment with ideas: "it is because I can look at the world aslant by using an unusual form that I can often take hold of an idea in a unique way."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Books in Canada, September, 2001, W. P. Kinsella, "First Novels," p. 30.
Globe & Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), April 29, 2000, Fraser Sutherland, "Birds and Melancholy and Orgasms Forever," p. D5; February 24, 2001, Jim Bartley, "Ordinary Family, Extraordinary Debut," p. D13.
Maclean's, November 3, 1997, "On a Literary Journey," p. 11.
Quill & Quire, January, 2001, Stephanie Domet, review of Canterbury Beach, p. 30; March, 2003, Heather Fitzgerald, review of Loop, p. 49.
Resource Links, October, 2001, Margaret Mackey, review of Canterbury Beach, p. 55.
University of Toronto Quarterly, winter, 2001, Julia Riebetanz, "Poetry," p. 38.
Danforth Review Online,http://www.danforthreview.com/ (April 21, 2004), "Anne Simpson: Q & A."
McClelland & Stewart Web site,http://www.mcclelland.com/ (April 21, 2004), "Anne Simpson."
Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia Web site,http://www.writers.ns.ca/ (April 20, 2004), "Anne Simpson."*