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 closed. The reading period for standard submissions opens again March 15, 2023. Submit here.


05/27 • Claudio Perinot
06/03 • Amanda Chiado
06/10 • John Davies
06/17 • Lynne Jensen Lampe
06/24 • Valerie Valdez
07/01 • Carlin Katz
07/08 • Meg Eden
07/15 • Tim Raymond
07/22 • Mike Itaya
07/29 • TBD
08/05 • TBD
08/12 • TBD
08/19 • TBD
08/26 • TBD
09/02 • TBD
09/09 • TBD
09/16 • TBD
09/23 • TBD
09/30 • TBD