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  • Writer's pictureMichael Simms

Strangers at the Door | Robert Gibb, Laure-Anne Bosselaar and Jose Padua

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

I’ve always loved poetry that has a clear voice, a strong reliance on craft, and a sense that a person is speaking about ideas or incidents that are of utmost importance to him or her, and I’ve always disliked poems that are merely word games, or that don’t seem authentic. The sound of the poem is the most important quality, and I often say lines out loud in order to hear the music. One of my favorite poems, for example, is Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Petrarchan sonnet What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why. However, I have to admit that part of what fascinates me about Millay’s work is that through luck, talent and self-promotion she was able to become one of the best-known authors of her time. Although I’ve served as a literary editor and publisher for many years, trying to make unknown poets known, the conundrum of how and why a few poets reach national prominence while others, though highly talented, fail to gain the attention of the public, has long confounded me. So, here I want to call attention to three mature poets who have done extraordinary work, but have not, in my opinion, received the attention they deserve, and in the process explore different ways one can be an “outsider” in the poetry field… (click here to continue reading the essay in Plume Poetry)

photo of an oil on canvas 1986 by Nadya Brown titled the Parthenos with green, orange, brown, blue, and white colors
Nadya Brown, “Parthenos”

Copyright 2023 Michael Simms

Michael Simms is the founding editor of Autumn House Press (1998-2016) and Vox Populi (2014-present). His recent books include the poetry collection Strange Meadowlark (Ragged Sky, 2023) and the fantasy novel The Green Mage (Madville, 2023). In 2014, the State Legislature of Pennsylvania awarded Simms a Certificate of Recognition for his service to the arts.

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