A recipient of a Fellowship in Literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Simpson has published poems in "Prairie Schooner," "The Cortland Review," "Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review," "Passager," "Atlanta Review," "The Louisville Review," and "Margie," among other literary journals. Cinco Puntos Press, El Paso, Texas, published his essay “Line Breaks the Way I See Them” and four of his poems in "Beauty Is A Verb: The New Poetry of Disability," a 2012 ALA Notable Poetry Book called “unusual and powerful” by "Publisher’s Weekly" in a starred review.
Daniel Simpson and his identical twin brother, David, were born blind in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1952. After attending the Overbrook School for the Blind through eighth grade (1956 - 1966), Dan became one of the first blind students in his county to go to a public school. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and music from Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he graduated Summa cum Laude and Class Salutatorian.
Not only an accomplished poet, but musician too, Simpson has a Master of Music from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, as well as Master of Arts in English and a teaching certificate from the University of Pennsylvanina. He traveled to Paris for a year of private study with the world-renowned organist André Marchal. Simpson has been singing with the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, a 140-voice choir, for twenty years.
He serves as Access Technology Consultant to the Free Library of Philadelphia and works as a Technical Support Specialist for the Library of Congress. He and Ona Gritz are the Poetry Editors for "Referential Magazine." He currently lives in Lansdown, Pennsylvania.
Simpson's collection of twenty poems addresses blindness not as disability but as another dimension of a multi-faceted, multi-talented self. For Simpson, blindness is not a loss nor a right denied, but an essential fact of his identity, a birthright embraced and shared with a partner in childhood crimes, his twin brother. Any pity is misplaced, any assessment that his blindness is a shortcoming inaccurate. In one poem he promises to tell his Aunt Polly his vision of paradise in the afterlife: "It's really going to be something," I'll say. / "In Heaven, you'll finally get to be blind."
Poet Stephen Dunn, 2001 recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, has said "Daniel Simpson's fine 'School for the Blind' could as easily have been called 'An Education for the Sighted,' because is works both ways. Simpson makes us privy -- without hype or sentimentality -- to what it feels like to be blind, to live with and fall in love with the tactile world and its language."
"School for the Blind" is published by Poets Wear Prada, a small literary press founded in 2006 and based in Hoboken, New Jersey.