Celebrating the Selfless: Scott Thomas Outlar

Scott Thomas Outlar
The hours are quickly fading on this Sunday, October 22nd. I am catching a flight tomorrow afternoon and heading to London, England to attend a book launch at The Poetry Café where Matt Duggan and Maria Castro Dominguez will be the featured performers. Pennsylvania poet, Heath Brougher, and I plan on adding a bit of USA flavor to the mix at the end of the show. I won’t have access to my laptop for the next week (which sends cold shivers up my spine, as it has become a sort of extra appendage these past few years), so it’s absolutely imperative that I get this essay written tonight before leaving. With that in mind, I walked up here to a local restaurant and found a suitable seat at the bar where the ink can properly flow. Football, basketball, and soccer games are attacking my senses from multiple television screens. A cacophony of noise erupts from every direction as wild fans let loose with their raw emotions. What better place to get a bit of work done in a pinch, right? Right!

Where do we go from here? Well, the first thought that pops into my mind is: thankfulness. After that: goodwill. Followed by: friendship and family. And rounded out nicely with: charity. Why? Because this is the season of holiday celebrations all around the world. Diwali is currently underway in India. Canada recently enjoyed their time of Thanksgiving, and the USA will be doing the same next month. Then, of course, Christmas will come screaming down the line straight at us. Thus, it is a perfect time to reflect on positive affirmations, especially during this stage of history when we are routinely inundated by negative energy from the media and other such entrenched institutions that seek to keep us locked in low vibration.

But enough with the buildup! The point I want to hammer home this month is that we should seek to honor and pay our respects to good people in life whenever the opportunity arises. So I would like to shine a bright light directly upon one of the more selfless writers I’ve had the pleasure of encountering in the past few years. Michael Lee Johnson has been diligently pursuing his poetic craft for over 30 years. Such dedication in a field that doesn’t necessarily offer huge financial rewards or acclaim is admirable. Thankfully, in recent years, his talent has started to be recognized with nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. In fact, he has been nominated twice for Best of the Net in 2017 alone.

Michael Lee Johnson
Johnson should be praised for his accolades and accomplishments, yes, but one of the main reasons I want to highlight him here is for the work he does as an administrator in the Contemporary Poets Facebook group. I have watched during the past few years as he tirelessly and relentlessly promotes the work of other writers and artists. He has created what I consider to be one of the finest groups to participate in on social media. It’s undoubtedly true that writers in general tend to have a sizeable ego. Johnson’s proves to be healthy at times in this regard, but he is able to transcend such a fact by lending his time, energy and effort in the pursuit of raising up the reputation of his contemporaries. In such a competitive environment (small press/indie market), this is wonderful to witness.

Aside from having published his work in hundreds of magazines and journals all over the world through the years, Johnson also has a YouTube channel where he regularly posts new recitations of his work. I highly recommend checking it out here.

Become familiar with this selfless poet’s work, and if you’re one of the many people who he has supported, please send him a note of appreciation. Or, if you really want to make his day, order him a shot of good vodka the next time you cross paths in Itasca, Illinois.

Thank you, Michael, for all you do in the poetry community. Selah.


  1. Have deep respect for Scott & Michael both. They are essential pioneer literary geniuses in their craft of poetry.
    They help other poets such as myself to attain positive attributions toward writing. Sending them off with the highest available endorsement that I can give. Truly exceptional talent.

  2. Oh my this brought to tears, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this on a day in my business an order was messed up that likely will cost me $1,000. Thank U Lord for good in us all, Michael Lee Johnson

  3. So kind of you Mario you are always so supportive.

  4. Thank you, Michael, for being such a tremendous inspiration and for championing the work of so many otherwise overlooked great artists.

    With Much Respect And Fondness

  5. You are right Linda talented but sometime overlooked I intent to find the overlooked.


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।