People Matter: Sarasota Portraits & Others is a collection of poems, most of which describe individuals. These descriptions are often presented by an omniscient third-person narrator who is familiar with the subject’s history, present circumstances and personal thoughts and feelings. In other instances, however, the poem may be a steam-of-conscious presentation of the subject’s thoughts and feelings. For this reason, these poems are called portraits. These portraits, however, describe the psychological and emotional states of the subject characters. The first section of the collection presents sixteen poems focused distinctly on types of individual the author observed residing in Sarasota and its northern neighbor Bradenton, Florida. The people described are of various ages, backgrounds and occupations and, together, they suggest at least the outlines of a community. The focus of the second section of 26 poems is more general in nature, presenting figures of historical or cultural significance from ancient to contemporary times such as the Roman emperor Hadrian, the artist Vincent Van Gogh, the English novelist Thomas Hardy and entertainers Rosemary Clooney and Madonna. These portraits are supplemented by poems which consider in a general way human nature and the human condition. The overriding theme of all the poems is the significance of the individual human life. Contemporary Western culture often gives lip service only to the dignity and value of the individual. This collection asserts that, in fact, people matter, that people are more important than money or power.