Geomantic riposte: 'Thrum'

Natalie Simpson lives in Calgary, Alberta and is the author of accrete or crumble and Thrum. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including Shy, The Best Canadian Poetry in English, Ground Rules, Shift & Switch, and Post-Prairie. Simpson curates filling Station magazine’s flywheel reading series and is highly active in the Calgary poetry scene. These are understatements vis-à-vis the potential energy in Simpson’s words that steadily builds into a latent force in the reader’s frame and consciousness, or so we imagine when her refinement of Gertrude Stein’s technique suddenly unfurls ounces of characteristically wry, engaging humour. Simpson is mindful of process but she often allows language to perform its own magic, leaving the reader to appreciate its own syntactic leaps and interjections in bursts of delight.

Simpson’s new collection Thrum is much anticipated by quite a few folks in the Canadian poetry community (picture much logorific salivating palaver!) and gives us the backstory behind the backstory, in part influenced by the frequency of language trends in media sources that include a predilection by headline plotters for perpetually imperilled and economically truncated “tots.” Frank Styles reports succinctly in less than seventy words from a recent Play Chthonics reading at the University of British Columbia, where Simpson read from Thrum:

“Language,” she said, “is a likely state,” pointing up an aural and syntactic mesh in her work that seem to consist in sets of strange attractors. “Our form,” one of her poems declares, “is buffeted.” Her poems entangle listeners in a kind of attentively close sidewinding, a careful distraction. We find ourselves, as another of her lines has it, “adrift in plainsong tasked with swim.”

Thrum by Natalie Simpson (Talonbooks, 2014, Page 55)


Quebec tot cut in robbery bid endangering tot condemned truck invades

tot’s bedroom cat cushions tot’s plunge flap over naps angers parents of

Ottawa tots tot wanders out into the cold tot takes toy truck for ride tot

who suffered near-fatal fall out of hospital spare us the imperilled tots


dead tot’s dad not normal court told Judd’s ex says he knew tot not his

tiny tots’ tunic big fashion tot’s ride of terror nets mom nine months


dazzling pop production for tot’s dad gets access to tot sired in loveless

pact tot conceived after dad denied aid tot banned by preschool over

peanuts tot implicated father trial told


Geomantic Riposte:  Bitcoinage


Glad we’re on the same page and thinking outside of the box for once

way to repackage Stein let’s take shrink wrap to the limit and custom

order the colour from very distant provinces but (decent) reading is 

on a downturn and we can throw money at the problem and see what

catches – we clicked on that link but Brangelina had not hacked any-

body to bits         it/they    was/were      trapped in a perfume plug then

Bad Day played for the umpteenth time and thus we abandoned those

pants at Bay Day but on thesis cited philosophical/political/historical

differences then clicked again on Proust never coming clean about

being a verb but imagine the luxury you could afford or the amount

of excess you could achieve if Tories fire back at ‘pothole vigilante’

or proof of rehab job slash slap in the face rocks community or four

shot shotgun ambush loonie tumbles suicide kit sexual invectives

racial slurs sexy alien thriller ban on lace undies arsonist abortion

from Putin to porn stars stock bubbles get in on the ground floor