Synaptic by Alison Calder

Alison Calder is an award-winning poet and Synaptic is her third poetry collection. This collection is ambitious and asks us to think about the way we perceive and the ways in which we seek to know ourselves and others.

“I’m in love with Alison Calder’s poems.”

Jeanette Lynes

This collection strives to map the brain’s neural connections, raising fundamental questions about identity and interiority. From the first poem and section of the book, Calder called Connectomics. What is Connectomics? Connectomics is the study of the brain’s structural and functional connections between cells, which is visualized as a connectome. The connectome is a map of all neural connections in a brain and connectomics is the mapping of these connections. Calder will have you thinking about ways to improve our connection to our brain and how one maps out our thought process.

In a good many of the poems, Calder gives a definition of the neurological terms which is usually the title in a footnote.  These are very helpful and important to read. Not only was I learning something new in almost every poem I read, but it also got me thinking and diving deeper into my mind.  Not only did these poems get my thoughts racing on what each poem could mean. They also helped me open up my mind to think clearer and more scientifically.

The second part of the poetry is under a section named Other Fires. This collection of poems is more stories of reflection and one’s identity.  Both poems Selkie and Trolls can mirror one person having two parts to their identity or even the way we want people to see us. A Selkie, like a Troll, is a mythological creature. A Selkie sheds its skin from a seal form to a human just like in life we can shed our past ideals to make room for new thoughts and grow and change as a person.

The speakers in these poems are searching for knowledge. Everyone is looking for a miracle from the inner thoughts of our brain.  I don’t think our brain holds the answers to every question but if we can open up our ideas on how we can learn faster, be smarter, hold more information and in turn have a more functioning mind frame and views.

Calder was able to expand my mind and thought process throughout this whole collection of creative and remarkable poetry. 

Award-winning poet Alison Calder grew up in Saskatoon. She is the author of Wolf Tree and In the Tiger Park, and she lives in Winnipeg where she teaches Canadian literature and creative writing at the University of Manitoba. 

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ University of Regina Press (April 2 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 96 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0889778612
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0889778610

Shawna is a mother and a retired athlete, coach and fitness professional. She currently works in the Beauty Industry with Drunk Elephant. In her spare time, she enjoy watching baseball, reading anything pertaining to sports, fashion, poetry and biographies. She likes to travel to anywhere warm and sunny. Shawna has a BBA from Mount Saint Vincent University and currently lives in Paradise, Newfoundland. New Instagram account @shawna.j.butler