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American Ash: Poems

by Michael Simms

American Ash cover

Michael Simms has been active in politics and poetry for over 40 years as a writer, teacher, editor, and community activist. He's the author of four collections of poetry and a college textbook about poetry—and the lead editor of over 100 published books. Simms is the founder of Vox Populi, (http://voxpopulsphere.com), an online forum for poetry, politics, and nature, as well as Autumn House Press, a nonprofit publisher of books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Simms has won a number of awards and fellowships, including a Certificate of Recognition in 2011 from the Pennsylvania State Legislature for his contribution to the arts. A Texas native, Simms has an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University. American Ash, Simms' latest collection, has been praised by fellow poet Philip Terman as the work of “a man in full." By turns grateful, scathing, consoling, these poems always ring true.

Praise for American Ash

In a Beat-like voice that's spontaneous, raw, and irrepressible, Michael Simms writes with the courage of a witness and the wisdom of a survivor. These poems leap, lament, pierce, transcend, delve, witness, praise, and testify to the curative power of poetry.

--Chard deNiord, author of In My Unknowing

The work in American Ash presses us into terror, fury, forgiveness, almost in the same breath. The ability to inhabit the self so fully, to transmit this delicate, difficult knowledge of our holy imperfections—this is a rare and tender skill. The poems wrestle with ugliness and anger; they denounce cruelty; they are frightened and remorseful; and yet they rise, again and again, to simple joy.

--Dawn Potter, author of Same Old Story

Simms embraces a full humanity, writing what James Wright called “the poetry of a grown man" in a language that has fully absorbed the American poetic tradition from Whitman to Vallejo to Wright to Rich. What I admire most is Simms's truthfulness, his unflinching journey through life, wounded but healed. This poet has “looked/into the darkness/and survived.

--Philip Terman, author of Our Portion

Simms understands that any truth that's worthy of the name can be both brutal and beautiful. Indeed, there's a beauty here that can bring you to the edge of being too much to bear; but, perhaps more importantly, there's also a kindness powerful enough to cast grand shadows over the roughest of days.

--Jose Padua, author of A Short History of Monsters

American Ash by Michael Simms
ISBN: 978-1-933974-39-2
$17 each, all orders to:
redcedardistribution@gmail.com

Returns to: Red Cedar Distribution
219 Bigham Street
Pittsburgh Pa 15211

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