From the "whittled towns" of Saskatchewan to the song of the "red-breasted delivery truck," Bren Simmers uses her unique ability to draw connections between rural and urban, between the divine and the absurd, to create dazzling poetry. In Night Gears, Simmers' first collection, her lines demand the reader's attention, whether she is cataloguing roadkill on a trip to the arctic, revelling in the intensity of a thunderstorm at a fire lookout, or unfolding the silent pain of small-town life.
Melancholy: From Image to Allegory (M. Travis Lane, The Fiddlehead, 02/01/2012)
"Simmers’s poetry emphasizes the material world. She is primarily an imagist, a visual poet.”
Poetry review by J. A. Weingarten (J. A. Weingarten, The Malahat Review, 7/23/11)
“There is no question that Simmers undertakes her casual saunter across the Canadian landscape with finesse... She deserves praise for her adept conjuring of this neo-Romantic, yet modern, persona.”
On a zigzag path: Two new collections (Barbara Carey, Toronto Star, 5/2/11)
“In stylistic terms, Simmers favours the direct route over the circumspect in Night Gears. That has its pleasures, especially with a poet so keenly alert to “that / side-of-the-highway wonder.”
Review (Jessica Rose, H Magazine, 1/2/11)
“Readers can’t help but visualize her muses, whether they are tiny insects or a gentle giant, like a thousand-pound moose...The pictures Simmers artfully paints with her words are not always rural, rather she excels at blending nature with modernity, the two often clashing.”
First books of poems make fresh tracks (Jennifer Still, Winnipeg Free Press, 29/1/11)
“Most notable is Simmers’ panoramic movement inside the serial poem, where she finds both the stride and space to wander in her surroundings. At times she takes in more than might be necessary, but it is clear Simmers is at the service of desire, which at every turn finds poems flashing before her: "Slowing down to catch / something hightail it into the brush-- / into what lies beyond / our lives' scenic corridors."
Review (The Telegraph-Journal, 2/10/20)
“Continuing the tradition of park-employed poets, but unlike her naturalist fellows, Simmers specializes in the confluence of modern life and nature. In some poems she escapes the isolation of a forest-fire tower with earbuds and another romantic comedy. In others, nature offers a brief escape, like cracking open a window.”
Review (Cameron Anstee, The Bull Calf, 1/10/10)
“Simmers’s willingness to consider uncertainty and contradiction in her poetry is a quality to be celebrated and one that she will hopefully continue to develop in future collections."
Night Gears Preview
Read an excerpt of Night Gears by Bren Simmers