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2019 Reviews > Choose Your Own Adventure and other Poems by Caroline Simpson

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Nina | 1182 comments Caroline Simpson, a two-time Pushcart nominee, is an adjunct assistant professor in Delaware State University’s Department of English and Foreign Languages. I was fortunate to meet her and purchase her chapbook at a reading. Some readers may be familiar with Choose Your Own Adventure: The Galapagos Mating Dance, from the October 2018 issue of Rattle.

Caroline Simpson took a trip to the Galapagos Islands, which proved to be the inspiration for her wonderful book, Choose Your Own Adventure and Other Poems. In an interview on Delaware Public Media, Simpson shares: “ our particular tour guide was very keen on teaching us about the mating rituals of these animals. So, as we’re learning about the sex lives and romance and patterns of commitment and gender roles of all these creatures, I couldn’t help but relate it to some of the partnership patterns I’ve seen in humans.”

She then set up her writing in a unique format, that of the choose your own adventure series many of us bought for our children. This lengthy poem, divided into seven chapters filling the first sixteen pages of her chapbook, while not x-rated, is certainly not for children. Simpson compares and contrasts the animal mating rituals with those of humans. She offers her reader an opportunity to alter an unappealing behavior by “return to Chapter One,” or “skip to Chapter Six.” There is a great deal of humor in these well-crafted poems.

From Chapter Six:
If you cannot handle
the emotional complexity
of an open relationship,
refer to Chapter Four.

If only relationships were that easy!


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