Friday, January 30, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NC Writers' Network West Announces New Meeting Place for Coffee With the Poets

New Venue for Coffee with the Poets and Writers - 
Clay County, NC

Coffee with the Poets and Writers has met at Blue 
Mountain Restaurant in  Murphy for the past two 
years. Beginning in March, 2015, this event will 
meet at Joe's Trading Post and Coffee Shop, 
32 Main Street, Hayesville, NC. Joe Powell is owner
of the coffee shop. We met at this location when it 
was  Cafe Touche and run by Liz. The seating is 
different now and probably will be better for our 
group. This event is open to  the public and everyone 
is invited to read a couple of  poems or a prose piece 
of around 1,000 words.

The only food sold at Joe's will be his fine varied 
brands of coffee, soft drinks, tea and a few snack 
items. He will be open to  the public while we meet. 
Please pass this change on to anyone who would 
like to join us on the second Wednesday of each 
month at 10:30 a.m.

We are pleased that Coffee with the Poets, sponsored by
NCWN West, was founded in 2007 and has continued with a
loyal following ever since.

We will NOT MEET in January or February.
well-known man of many talents from Brasstown, NC.
To learn more about reading at Coffee with the 
Poets and Writers contact 
Glenda Beall, 
or call 828-389-4441.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Doris Betts Fiction Prize Deadline Feb 15, 2015

Although this is a poetry site  , if you also write  in the short story genre, here is  a call for  submissions to the Doris Betts Fiction Prize.
January 10, 2015

Dear Nancy:
The 2015 Doris Betts Fiction Prize is now open for submissions. The Doris Betts Fiction Prize awards the first-place winner $250 and publication in the North Carolina Literary Review. Finalists will also be considered for publication in the NCLR.
The competition is for previously unpublished short stories up to 6,000 words. The Doris Betts Fiction Prize is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (lives or has lived in NC) are also eligible.
For over twenty years, East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary & Historical Association have published the North Carolina Literary Review, a journal devoted to showcasing the Tar Heel State’s literary excellence. Described by one critic as “everything you ever wanted out of a literary publication but never dared to demand,” the NCLR has won numerous awards and citations.
The final judge is NCLR fiction editor Liza Wieland. She the author of seven books and three collections of short fiction. She has won two Pushcart Prizes, the Michigan Literary Fiction Prize, a Bridport Prize in the UK, and fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, The North Carolina Arts Council, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. She has recently been awarded a second fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council.
Laura Herbst of Pittsboro won the 2014 Doris Betts Fiction Prize for her story, “The Cliffs of Mobenga.” Two finalists from the 2014 competition were invited to revise and resubmit their stories for publication consideration: “World Without End” by Taylor Brown of Wilmington and “Big Joy Family” by Jude Whelchel of Asheville.
Doris Betts was the author of three short story collections and six novels. She won three Sir Walter Raleigh awards, the Southern Book Award, the North Carolina Award for Literature, the John Dos Passos Prize, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Medal for the short story, among others. Beloved by her students, she was named the University of North Carolina Alumni Distinguished Professor of English in 1980. She was a 2004 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.
Here are the guidelines for the 2015 Doris Betts Fiction Prize. The deadline is February 15:
The competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network. North Carolina Literary Review subscribers with North Carolina connections (lives or has lived in NC) are also eligible.
The competition is for previously unpublished short stories up to 6,000 words. One entry per writer. No novel excerpts. Stories do NOT have to relate to NCLR’s annual special feature topic.
Submit previously unpublished stories online at Submittable will collect your entry fee via credit card ($10 NCWN members or NCLR subscribers / $20 for non-members/non-subscribers).
To pay submission fees by check or money order, make payable to the North Carolina Writers Network and mail to: Ed Southern, PO Box 21591, Winston-Salem, NC 27120- 1591
Documents must be Microsoft Word or .rtf files. Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title. (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.) If you have any problems submitting electronically, email NCLR's Submission Manager.
The winner and finalists will be announced in April. The winning story and select finalists will be published in the next year’s issue of the North Carolina Literary Review.
Questions may be directed to Margaret Bauer, Editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, at
The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit
Copyright 2015

(If you are a practicing writer, I hope you will consider joining NCWN now. If you join and if you live in the western NC mountains, within certain counties, you automatically become also a member of NCWN West.--Nancy Simpson)

The North Carolina Writers' Network | | North Carolina Writers' Network | North Carolina Writers' Network PO Box 21591 | Winston-Salem, NC 27120

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Death of JUDITH KITCHEN the Literary Author, Editor, Writing Instructor and Literary Critic 1941-2014

From the Los Angeles Times
Jan 4, 2014
by David Ulin

Remembering author, teacher and critic Judith Kitchen
Creative Non fiction essayist and teacher Judith Kitchen, who died last week of cancer at the age of 73.
BY DAVID L. ULIN, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
November 11, 2014, 4:30 p.m.
I only met Judith Kitchen once. It’s my loss. Kitchen, who died last week at 73 of cancer, was a rare spirit, both on the page and in the world. Teacher, essayist, critic, she and her husband and partner Stan Rubin ran the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., where I spent a couple of days last year visiting.
She was also the author of a novel, a collection of poetry and four books of nonfiction, including the luminous “The Circus Train,” which came out at the beginning of this year. The title piece, novella-length, is one of the most astonishing extended essays I’ve read. Moving back and forth through memories, invoking her literary hero Samuel Beckett, it is a meditation on mortality and meaning from the edge of the abyss.
“Here’s what I want: to stitch it all together,” she writes. “Give it the dilated eye of attention. To make it add up. But of course it doesn’t add up, no more than any other life. We take from the box of photos those that lead, one to another. We leave behind the singular, solitary moments that go nowhere except into, and out of, themselves.”
Do we need to say that the miracle of this passage is that she isn’t writing about death exactly, but rather life? Or, more accurately, about meaning, about the way we are always stitching it together all the time? This was the subject of her 2012 book “Half in Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate,” which uses family photos as a hinge for an interior investigation — into love, doubt, family and time. “This is not art,” she writes there. “This is the black and white of birthdays and summer vacations. Grandma’s Sunday best.”
Not art, no, but time, but living, but the bits and pieces by which we have no choice but to define ourselves. Kitchen lived it as she wrote it, asking questions, keeping focus, working until the end. Over the summer, she came up in conversation at a dinner party; “She’s dying,” a friend said, “but I’ve never known anyone so alive.”
It’s true: Even from a distance, Kitchen redefined death for me, or at least, how we might face death with courage and with grace. This is not to say she wasn’t frightened; “[W]ill thinking be my solace, or my curse?” she wonders in “The Circus Train.” “I have relied on the brain — its tickings and tockings — for an entire lifetime. Can I trust it to take me easily into death, or will it resist, fighting the body until the bitter end?”
I think about these questions also, but for me, they remain (for the moment, anyway) abstract. Kitchen was not writing with that luxury. She was fierce and she was loving — and she was rigorous, with no one so much as with herself. I want to say that she was kind (she was certainly kind to me), but kindness seems too soft for her intensity.
“Visual artists have ‘statements,’” she once wrote, “in order to articulate something of what they do instinctively. But a writer’s medium is words, and if the writer has anything to say, it’s best said obliquely. Understated. So let me call up a visual image for what I want my work to be doing: there’s a juggler in the park, wearing a red hat, and he’s tossing a knife, an orange, and three purple balls into the air, deftly catching them, passing them under his legs or behind his back, twirling and catching, then, balancing a stick with one spinning ball on the tip of his forehead, he holds the knife blade-side-up so that when the orange falls it is sliced cleanly into two equal halves which he catches in both hands and holds up to the light.”

From  AWP Association of Writers and Writing Programs Nov. 18, 2014

Judith Kitchen Has Died
November 18, 2014
photo by William Stafford

Judith Kitchen—a novelist, poet, essayist, critic, editor, and teacher—died of cancer at age 73 in early November. She was at her home in Port Townsend, Washington, with her husband, Stan Sanvel Rubin, with whom Kitchen co-directed the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.
In an obituary for the late author, Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin called her last book of nonfiction, The Circus Train, “one of the most astonishing extended essays I’ve read,” and described one cited passage as a “miracle” in its bold-eyed description of mortality.
“Even from a distance, Kitchen redefined death for me, or at least, how we might face death with courage and grace,” Ulin wrote. “This is not to say she wasn’t frightened; ‘[W]ill thinking be my solace, or my curse?’ she wonders in The Circus Train. ‘I have relied on the brain—its ticking and tockings—for an entire lifetime. Can I trust it to take me easily into death, or will it resist, fighting the body until the bitter end?’”
Kitchen authored several books, including, most recently, The Circus Train (2014); Half in Shade (2012), a book of nonfiction; The House on Eccles Road (2002), a novel, which received the S. Mariella Gable Prize in Fiction from Graywolf Press; and Distance and Direction (2002), a collection of essays. She also received two Pushcart Prizes, the Lillian Fairchild Award, the Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
In addition to teaching in the Rainier Writing Workshop, Kitchen served as advisory and contributing editor of the Georgia Review, where her regular poetry reviews were published, and on the Artists Advisory Board for the New York Foundation for the Arts. She served as a nonfiction reviewer for Water~Stone Review (see Water~Stone’s executive editor Mary Rockcastle’s obituary for Kitchen), and edited a number of anthologies, including, most recently, The Poets Guide to the Birds (2009), which she co-edited with former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.
“Judith Kitchen… delivered good deeds and good works far and wide, as a writer, as an editor, as a teacher, and as a model citizen of high-minded literary living and giving,” said AWP’s executive director David Fenza. “She was one of our better angels.”
For its upcoming May/Summer issue, the Writer’s Chronicle magazine will publish an interview with Judith Kitchen.
Works by Judith Kitchen

Perennials (Poetry Series) Poetry  Collection by Judith Kitchen, Anhinga Press
UNDERSTANDING (Contemporty American Literature) WILLIAM STAFFORD by Judith Kitchen, U of S C Press

The House on Eccles Road Novel by Judith Kitchen Gray Wolf Press
Only the Dance: Essays on Time and Memory Non Fiction by Judith Kitchen, U of SC Press
Half In Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate Non Fiction by Judith Kitchen, Coffee House Press
Distance & Direction Non Fiction Essays by Judith Kitchen, Coffee House Press
The Circus Train (Ovenbird Books) (Volume 1) Non Fiction by Judith Kitchen

The Poets Guide To The Birds (Editor) Judith Kitchen

As Editor and Publisher of State Street Press, Judith Kitchen published 76 chapbooks, 2 pamphlets, 5 full length poetry collections, and one anthology. 
As reviewer for The Georgia Review, she left some 750 pages of book reviews in print. The Georgia Review has named her as one or two leading poetry critics in the US and one in five  in the English speaking world.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In Memory of Judith Kitchen August 6, 1941 - November 6, 2014, HERE AT THE END OF THE YEAR

Tonight at midnight 2014 ends for me. It is a year I will be happy to see end, it being one of the most difficult years in my life. My writing life has been on hold. I do not want to think about 2014 nor relive any of it again. This admission would disappoint my life friend, Judith Kitchen, for she treasured focus and remembering. I’ve spent almost every day during this year in physical therapy, and I want to forget it. I did regained much of my health. Seeing the end of 2014 gives me the measure of hope that in 2015 I will be productive. Let the unfinished projects return. Let words spring forth and flow again. 
Tonight, I must remember that during 2014, I lost my dear friend. Judith Kitchen will not be coming into the new year with me.  After years in a vicious struggle with two potentially fatal illnesses, Judith Kitchen, born on August 6, 1941, finished her last tasks and died peacefully in her home on November 6, 2014. Her lungs gave out.  I am thankful for the long three hour talk I had with her husband Stan Sanvel Rubin.  We talked and we cried. Stan had to go over every detail. It was necessary. After that he said again how everything changed for them when I drew the heart around them in the sand at Lake Chatuge one summer when they were visiting me. He said again as he had said before how happy they were that I could be with them for their wedding. I remember their wedding well in  Brockport, NY and that I stood with Judith as her best woman.  Some things here at the end of 2014 I will not forget. I will remember Judith.

photo by William Stafford

photo by Cheryl Merrill


JUDITH KITCHEN taught nonfiction in the Rainier Writing Workshop, the Low-Residency MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. She was the author of seven  books: Perennials (poetry, Anhinga Press); Writing the World: Understanding William Stafford (criticism, Oregon State Univ. Press); Only the Dance (essays, Univ. of S. Carolina); Distance and Direction (essays, Coffee House Press), and The House on Eccles Road (novel, Graywolf Press; Penguin paperback) which was awarded the S. Mariella Gable Prize in fiction. A third book of nonfiction, Half in Shade, was published by Coffee House Press in Spring 2012.Her most recent book was The Circus Train, Ovenbird Books (2013).In addition, she has edited or co-edited three collections of nonfiction (In Short, In Brief, and Short Takes, all W. W. Norton) and, with Ted Kooser, an anthology, The Poets Guide to the Birds (Anhinga Press).  Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including  essays in Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, Great River Review, and The Georgia Review. Her awards include two Pushcart Prizes for an essay, the Lillian Fairchild Award for her novel, the Anhinga Prize for poetry, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She has served as judge for the AWP Nonfiction Award, the Pushcart Prize in poetry, the Oregon Book Award, and the Bush Foundation Fellowships, among others. Kitchen was an Advisory and Contributing Editor for The Georgia Review where she was a regular reviewer of poetry.
A native upstate New Yorker, she grew up in Painted Post, a small town on the Pennsylvania border. After college in Vermont, a junior year in Edinburgh, Scotland, and some years living in both Scotland and Brazil, she returned to upstate NY where she worked as a part-time secretary, an assistant in a carnival supply business, with the NY state Poets in the Schools, and finally as an instructor at SUNY College at Brockport, where she taught courses in Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, and The Writer’s Craft. 
For twenty years, she served as editor and publisher of the State Street Press Chapbook Series, producing a total of 76 chapbooks, 2 pamphlets, 5 full-length books, 2 translations, and 1 anthology. In 1997, she was named Writer-in-Residence at SUNY Brockport, and in 2003, she and her husband, Stan Sanvel Rubin, moved to Port Townsend, WA, where they co-directed the Rainier Writing Workshop.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy 14th Birthday to Sasha on December 26, 2014

Sasha on her birthday with her new Christmas toy.

Sasha is my beloved wolf dog who has been my companion since she was 2 months old. She was born in the home of my son, Jeff, and her family history is well know to us. Her father was a full blooded Malamute, her mother was a medium sized black lab mix but her grandmother Nikita was a full blooded wolf. On December 26th my family and a few friends celebrated Sasha's 14th birthday.

When Sasha was young you did not see much wolf in her. Her ears were large and flopped over. Still, we knew she looked most like her grandmother Nikita.

Sasha was a beauty and with this photo taken by Lynn, she became a "cover girl" with  this shot of her on an Atlanta Vet's brochure. 

She has the thickest of coats, loves the outdoors in Spring, Fall and Winter.  She suffers in the heat summer and goes through massive shedding at certain times of the year. In summer she loves her "kid pool."

She has been blessed by the priest who asked for "a spring in her step." 

After  January 12, 2009, when her brother dog Nugget was attacked by coyotes, her ears stood up. It was as if suddenly she knew she was a wolf.

Sasha's ancestors in the cold north.

Sasha has been all over this mountain and used to love to walk as in this photo from Christmas 2010, walking with Jeremy. Or walking on the mountain with Lynn in 2011. 

More often now she 
watches them go and come from their walks from her look out spot on the deck.

Sasha and I get along like best friends.  She has been allowed to be "the dominate bitch dog" and all the other dogs love her and they pay respect to her. She is sometimes called "Queen of the Mountain." I am the alpha dog. All I have to do is show my teeth without even a growl. She never fails to come when I call her, even if she does not want to come. She loves to lie at my feet and follows me room to room in the house. If I sit on the deck, she sits at my feet there too.

Two things Sasha loves most of all--(1) Her Pack, every family member, the young and the old. She literally cries when they leave and rejoices when they return. Everyone says "a proper goodbye" to her when they leave because they know she expects it. Savannah puts flower in her hair. (2) Above all, above even me Sasha loves Lynn. Lynn is the only one she licks on the face.

Happy Birthday Sasha. Live long.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Betty Jamerson Reed is POET OF THE MONTH DECEMBER 2014

Betty Jamerson Reed is the featured poet of the month of December 2014 here Above the Frost Line. 


Sister by Betty Jamerson Reed
"Now, don't forget I love you,"
whispered her sweet lips.
"Pray for me. I'll pray for you."
Now lying alone in her grave,
body still, agony free, but
her voice echoes
this constant plea and promise,
"Pray for me. I'll pray for you."
I had begged, "God, please,
no more suffering.
Destroy that disease."
And death, a kind of healing,
has ended her pain.

from Out of Our Hearts and Minds: 
Poetry, Prose, and Art from Transylvania Writers' Alliance 
Pacher, Sara and Townsend-Borden, Catherine (Eds.).(North Charleston, SC: Booksurge Publishing, 2006), p. 117.

by Betty Jamerson Reed

Since childhood, poetry has enriched my life. My father and I shared poetry during the routine of daily living. I love the music and images of the Psalms and Proverbs. In school I eagerly memorized poetry such as "Abou Ben Adhem," "The Daffodils," and long passages from Shakespeare. I still commit favorite poems to memory. In my study I have learned the power of brevity and the vast potential of poetry, especially in the work of Emily Dickinson. Poetry from the centuries has opened my mind to the enduring need of mankind to reflect on beauty and ugliness, war and peace, courage and cowardice. 

The power of words is intoxicating. Words have the ability to ignite hope and to brighten shadows and illuminate darkness. I hope to write a poem that will enhance the reader's sense of humanity and stimulate contemplation about the human dilemma. Writing poetry remains a constant challenge, but it provides a rich creative outlet that is often therapeutic for me. (Betty Jamerson Reed)

Poet Betty Jamerson Reed, a native of Western North Carolina, is a retired educator. She is most known for being the author of  two books documenting the history of segregated black schools: The Brevard Rosenwald School: Education and Community Building in a Southern Appalachian Town, 1920-1966 (McFarland, 2004) (Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies) and School Segregation in Western North Carolina: A History , 1860s - 1970s (McFarland 2011) (Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies). 

an added note from Nancy Simpson
“Leave a comment please. It will be appreciated.” Nancy Simpson 


In October, I quietly celebrated Five Years of this site, LIVING ABOUT THE FROST LINE. I am already working in the sixth year. My interest  here is Poetry, especially Southern, North Carolina, Georgia  and Appalachian poetry. I like to feature poets here, and I especially like to feature the poet during his or her birth month if possible. I like to feature a poet especially when they have a new book in print and tell the reader how they can buy the book if they want it. There is no charge.

Although I had previously published Betty Jamerson Reed's  poem in the anthology Echoes Across the Blue Ridge in 2010, I met Betty in person for the first time last May at NC Writer's Network West's 2014 Spring Writing Conference in Sylva. As I spoke that day in Sylva about poets keeping their poems out there in reprints to build an audience for their poems, I offered the workshop group a chance to send me poems for reprint. Betty sent me three poems and I was happy to share them with my readers at the site "LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE." The offer is still open to NC poets, especially those living in the NC mountains.  Contact me at I ask for poems that have been previously published. This way you keep your new poems on hand to submit to the best literary magazines. Magazines usually will publish only unpublished poems, so you will want to be extra thoughtful where you send your newest, most exciting new work to the best literary magazines. When I reprint your poems, I will want to give credit to the magazine that first published them.

Monday, December 22, 2014


Get the news here

Congratulations are in order. Shelby Dean Stephenson has been named the new poet laureate of North Carolina by NC Governor McCrory. Stephenson will be installed in February 2015 as Poet Laureate and he will act as  an ambassador, using the office to promote NC poets and writers.(to read the full article, click above.)

Sunday, December 7, 2014


It's time to submit to the PSA's Annual Awards!

Each year from October to December the Poetry Society holds contests for poets at all stages of their careers. A prize for high school students, our Chapbook Fellowships for and our award for a poet over forty who has published no more than one book are just a few.

Annual Awards judges include:

Stephen BurtHonorĂ©e JeffersFady JoudahDana LevinAnge Mlinko, Jim Moore, Aimee NezhukumatathilAlan Shapiro, and Rachel Zucker.

Chapbook judges will be:

Marilyn Chin, Jane Hirshfield, A. Van Jordan, and Don Paterson

Accepting Submissions until December 22nd.

For guidelines see our website.  

Become a member of the Poetry Society
and enter our Annual Awards for free.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Claudia Emerson has died recently. She will be greatly missed.

Pulitzer Poet Claudia Emerson 1957- 2014

Claudia Emerson
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Claudia Emerson, whose book of piercing poems about one marriage ending and another beginning won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, died on Thursday in Richmond, Va. She was 57.
The cause was cancer, said Virginia Commonwealth University, where she taught.
Ms. Emerson strove to find poetic meaning in her rural roots and small-town upbringing, finding metaphors in the real and spiritual landscape of her native South. Like many Southern writers, she said, she explored the “irony of loss.”
In “Cleaning the Graves,” from her first book, “Pharaoh, Pharaoh” (1997), she writes:
The once a year we come here is as close
as my mother comes to mourning. These graves
are all she has of land she hated
The book that won the Pulitzer, “Late Wife” (2005), chronicles her journey from one marriage, through solitude and into another marriage. The poems are written in the form of letters addressed to her former husband, herself and her new husband. She laments the dissolution of a marriage of 19 years, celebrates her new independence and then addresses her new husband in a sequence of sonnets.(from The NY Times)