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Author Michael Simms with his Kelpie Josie at their home in Pittsbrugh, Pennsylvania.

Michael Simms is a poet, writer, editor, publisher, and teacher. Four full-length collections of his poetry, four novels, and two widely adopted poetry textbooks have been published or are under contract with publishers. He has also been the lead editor of over 100 published books, including the bestselling Autumn House Anthology of Poetry, now in its third edition. Simms, who identifies as having Asperger's syndrome, has taught at a number of universities, including Chatham University’s MFA program from 2005-2013. Here are highlights from his career:

  • 1981-2008: Four chapbooks published: Notes on Continuing Light (Blue Buildings, 1981); The Fire-Eater (Firewheel, 1986); The Happiness of Animals (Monkey Sea, 2006); Black Stone (Monkey Sea, 2008).

  • 1985-1995. Simms reviewed books for the Dallas Morning News, Southwest Review and Pittsburgh Post-Gazete.

  • 1985: The Longman Dictionary and Handbook of Poetry by Jack Myers and Michael Simms is published by Longman (now Addison-Wesley). This groundbreaking text is widely adopted by classroom teachers in the US, Britain and Australia. Its combination of reference book and classroom text becomes a much-imitated model for the teaching of poetry.

  • 1985: Migration, Simms’s first full-length collection of poetry is released by Breitenbush Publishing to strong reviews.

  • 1994: Two of Simms’s poems are read by Garrison Keillor on the nationally syndicated radio show The Writer’s Almanac.

  • 1998: Simms founds and becomes Editor-in-Chief of Autumn House Press, a literary publisher that over the next 23 years releases hundreds of award-winning poetry, fiction and nonfiction titles. Autumn House books are widely reviewed in publications such as Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Prairie Schooner, The London Times Literary Supplement, and The Jerusalem Post.

  • 1999-2016: Autumn House receives grants from Heinz Endowments, Pittsburgh Foundation, Pennsylvania Council for the Arts, Hillman Family Foundations, Falk Foundation and other organizations.

  • 2011: Autumn House Press receives a Certificate of Recognition from the Pennsylvania State legislature for AHP’s contribution to the arts.

  • 2013: Clifford Thompson’s Love for Sale and Other Essays is published by Autumn House Press, and Thompson wins the Whiting Award.  

  • 2014: Simms founds and becomes Editor-in-Chief of Vox Populi, a daily online gazette of the left, which publishes poetry, fiction, personal essays, political articles, art, short films, and humor. Currently, VP has over 18,000 subscribers, as well as an impressive social media presence, and thousands more readers visit the website every day. In addition to editing Vox Populi, Simms writes a monthly column for the magazine.

  • 2020: American Ash, Simms’s second full-length collection of poems, is published by Ragged Sky Press to rave reviews. Alexandra Umlas, reviewing for Cultural Daily writes “…one of the most wonderful books I have ever read… Every poem gave me something to recognize, something to grapple with, some magic that made me see the world in a new way.” 

  • 2020: Two of Simms's poems are published in Poetry and on the Poetry Foundation website.

  • 2021: Five of Simms’s poems are translated into Arabic by Saleh Razzouk and published in Al Mothaqaf distributed in Syria and Iraq.

  • 2021: Simms’s allegorical essay Civilization and her Discontents is translated into Russian. Both English and Russian versions are published in East West Literary Forum edited by Nina Kossman.

  • 2021: Nightjar, Simms’s third full-length collection of poems, is released by Ragged Sky Press. Poet and classical scholar Rachel Hadas notes that the poems “recall the darkly vatic voice of Brecht’s late lyrics. Yet, Simms always sounds like himself: plainspoken, intimate, vulnerable, courageous.” 

  • 2022: Imperfect, a poem by Simms, is published by the Academy of American Poets in Poem-a-Day and on their website.

  • 2022: Bicycles of the Gods: A Divine Comedy, Simms’s first novel, is  released by Madville Publishing.

  • 2023: Pupa (a meditation on becoming), a long poem by Michael Simms, is published by Scientific American.

  • 2023: Original Sin, a long poem by Michael Simms, is published by Roman and Littlefield in the anthology In Sheep's Clothing: The Idolatry of White Christian Nationalism.

  • 2023: Strange Meadowlark, Simms’s fourth full-length collection of poems, is released by Ragged Sky Press.

  • 2023: Poem by Simms titled "No" is displayed as part of the Dear Ukraine exhibit in the National Cathedral in Washington DC in partnership with the Wick Poetry Center and Kent State University.

  • 2023-24: Three novels -- The Green Mage, Windkeep and The Blessed Isle, which make up The Talon Trilogy by Michael Simms, are released individually  by Madville Publishing.

  • 2023-24: Three essays and a poem published in the online magazine Plume Poetry.

  • 2024. Simms interviews James Crews for Plume Poetry.

  • 2024. Simms's poem Psyche is published in Scientific American.

  • 2024. Simms's poem Forward Street Blues (for Katherine Dunham) appears in Jazz and Literature, an anthology edited by Mia Funk and published by Routledge Press.

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