Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 17: Nos 1-2) >> Front Matter >> Introduction

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Introduction

Scholarship | 2009
Transcription 5 THE SIMMS REVIEW

ing Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis in his Border Romances
not only underscores his stature as an exemplar of his times but also
emphasizes his contention that a true poet is a seer whose vatic role is
critical for the intellectual and spiritual health of his society.
John Miller's article approaches several themes explored by
other contributors by focusing on Simms's "Notes on Bartram." Instead
of picturesque specimens of a soothing natural world, plants and wildlife
in the "Notes" poems are hostile. While underscoring his essentially
Romantic outlook, these poems highlight the complexity of Simms's
understanding of the relationship between the poetic imagination and the
environment.
Paul C. Graham's research on Simms's Masonic connections has
enriched our understanding of this vital and largely overlooked aspect of
Simms's later years (see the second issue of the Society newsletter, the
Simms Society News, for more.) Here he traces how Simms's involve-
ment with Freemasonry found voice in his poetry, focusing on the poem
"Epistle to a Brother Mason in Affliction."
Simms wrote poetry throughout his career, so it is fitting that
the front and back covers depict him as a young man, at the height of
his powers, and in his last years, brow unfurrowed but jaw set, still
writing a prodigious amount despite the privations and illness that were
constants of his life after the Civil War. We gratefully acknowledge the
South Caroliniana Library for permission to publish these images and to
reproduce the text of Monody.
This issue of the Review marks a transition from the able and
indefatigable efforts of founding editor James E. Kibler, Jr., who under-
took its creation and patiently edited it for seventeen years. The Society
and all Simms scholars are indebted to him for his hard work and faith-
ful stewardship, and we are especially grateful to him for agreeing to
continue to serve as advisor and peer reviewer. Likewise, no issue of the
Review is complete without acknowledging the support of the Society. It
is rare for a scholarly society to attract such a range of committed mem-
bers, both from within and without the academy, and as the Society enters
its eighteen year, we can take pride in how far we have come since that
first meeting nearly two decades ago. That progress is due to the enthu-
siasm and support of this remarkable group of scholars and enthusiasts,
whose patronage is a model of the kind of collaboration that all scholarly
publications aspire to, but only rarely achieve.