by Mark Simpson

The seeds this spring
sprout heads
that will devour me.
Nod in the rain.
Nod in the wind.
Such eyes.
Such needs.
Oh, my children,
I will go to bed.
for yourselves.

Mark Simpson’s work has appeared in a number of magazines. His book, A Poised World, won the Rhea & Seymour Gorsline Poetry Competition from Bedbug Press in 2008. He received a Ph.D. from the Rhetoric and Composition Studies program at Purdue University and currently works in Seattle as writer for an instructional design firm.

What do you think is the challenge of “compression” in writing (very) short poetry?

I tend to see the short poem in rhetorical terms. Traditional terms like “narrative” and “lyric” can be applied to short poems, but for me a central challenge is discovering a guiding image, the focused center of the poem, which the remaining text extends and amplifies. The process is generative and relies on the rhetorical figure of amplification—similar to what Jeffrey Levine calls “resonant diction.” A good analogy is the cumulative or “loose” sentence. (Francis Christensen’s “generative rhetoric” is a good reference here.) The first and most difficult challenge, then, is finding the central image that carries the poem forward.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now OPEN. The reading period for standard submissions closes June 15, 2021. Topical Thursdays’ submissions are open year-round. Submit here.


04/08 • Dominic Viti
04/10 • Nancy Connors
04/12 • Niles Reddick
04/14 • Martins Deep
04/15 • Anastasia Jill
04/17 • Joanne Lozar Glenn
04/19 • Robin Neidorf
04/21 • Martins Deep
04/22 • Autumn Bettinger
04/26 • TBD
04/28 • Martins Deep
05/03 • TBD
O5/05 • Martins Deep
05/10 • TBD
05/17 • TBD
05/24 • TBD
05/31 • TBD