Saturday, November 1, 2014

Celebrate the Publication of HANGING DOG CREEK by Mary Ricketson


Saturday, Nov 1, I will be at Hill Gallery, 139 Emily Ln (across from post office), Brasstown, 3-4 pm, reading poems from my new book and talking about writing and publishing.  Everyone is welcome.  It's free.

Friday, Nov 7, I will be at Curiosity Bookstore in Murphy during the First Friday Artwalk.  I'll be in the store to sign books, still launching Hanging Dog Creek, published by Future Cycle Press.

Obviously this is being sent to a bunch of my friends and fellow writers.  Thanks to all of you who read my poems and listened over these years.   It's an exciting book.  Celebrate with me, whether at these events or elsewhere.  And thanks everyone for your support.
Mary Ricketson

Sunday, October 12, 2014


If you live within driving distance, 
invites you to Writers' Night Out
With Open Mic Reading

Chelsea Rathburn and Jim May

Sat, October 18, 6:00pm – 8:30pm
129 Union County Recreation Rd., Blairsville, Georgia 30512 (map)
The Union County Community Center, located at 129 Union County Recreation Rd, Blairsville, Georgia 30512, off Highway 129 near the intersection of US 76. 
Come to the upstairs banquet room, which is accessible via stairs or the elevator. Phone (706) 439-6092.

Two featured readers followed by open mic. For open mic: sign up at the door, limit 3 minutes per poetry or prose reader

6:00-7:00pm: social hour
7:00 pm: featured readers
7:45 pm: Open mic

Held the second Saturday of each month, unless there are exceptions. 
Exceptions for 2014: May and October 
Note: Our calendar is updated to reflect the exceptions.
Facilitator: Karen Paul Holmes,

October 18, 2014: Please come hear 
the newest poets in town!  
Chelsea and Jim both teach at Young Harris
College and are award-winning poets. 
Please Note: There's been a slight change 
to Writers' Night Out: We no longer have 
a formal dinner service. Many of us just meet 
in The View Grill upstairs at the Union County
Community Center in Blairsville, Georgia for 
dinner or drinks. Then we have our program 
on the first floor.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Scott Owen and Staci Lynn Bell are Featured Readers

Ginosko Literary Magazine is calling for Poems NOW


Accepting short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, social justice, literary insights for Ginosko Literary Journal.  Length flexible, accept excerpts.

Publishing as semiannual litzine. Check downloadable issues on website for tone & style,
Print anthology:  Ginosko Anthology 2,

Editorial lead time 1-2 months; accept simultaneous submissions & reprints; length flexible, accept excerpts. Receives postal and email submissions—prefer email submissions as attachments in .wps, .doc, .rtf. —or by Submittable,
Authors retain copyrights.  Read year-round.

Also looking for books, art, music, spoken word videos, literary landscape to post on website.

Ginosko (ghin-ocĂ©-koe) 
A word meaning to perceive, understand, realize, come to know; knowledge that has an inception, a progress, an attainment. The recognition of truth from experience.

Member CLMP.  Est 2002.

Ginosko Literary Journal
PO Box 246 
Fairfax, CA 94978

Robert Paul Cesaretti
Maggie Heaps

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Mary Ricketson, author of I HEAR THE RIVER CALL MY NAME and a new full length poetry collection forthcoming.

Janice Townley Moore, author of Teeaching the Robins.

NC Writers' Network West co sponsored by John C. Campbell Folk School announces POETS AND WRITERS READING POEMS AND STORIES 
featuring Janice Townley Moore and Mary Ricketson reading their original poetry.

September 18, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Michael Beadle Reviews Fred Chappell's new Poetry Collection


Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:26
Poems to honor the insatiable mystery of cats
Written by  Admin

By Michael Beadle • Contributing writer
Anyone who’s spent serious time with a cat knows there are a myriad of ways to describe the feline mystery. They are inscrutable creatures. At times, indifferent. At others, intensely focused. Adorable and affable when they want to be. Experts of stealth. Part diva, part zen master. 
The great Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott once wrote, “Cats are a mysterious kind of folk. There is more passing in their minds than we are aware of.”
Over the ages, writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway were devoted admirers of cats. Raymond Chandler wrote letters in the mindset of his cat. Poet Sylvia Plath drew curious drawings of cats. Truman Capote used a nameless cat in a key role for his novella Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Prolific author Joyce Carol Oates proclaimed, “I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up.” Playwright Andrew Lloyd Webber immortalized cats with one of the longest-running Broadway musicals, based on the T.S. Eliot book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
Now poet, novelist and Canton native Fred Chappell delivers a splendid collection of poems about cats in Familiars (LSU Press), which muses on the enigmatic, beguiling nature of these animals we dare not stoop to call “pets.” The title of the book is a nod to the pagan tradition that cats embody a psychic connection to the spiritual realm. Poetry about cats seems fitting since both share an elusive nature. The poems in Familiars revel in that notion. 
Over the years, Chappell’s writing has transcended the art form with an uncanny ability to mix his Appalachian roots with rich literary references in finely-crafted verse that plunges deep and cuts to the quick. Imagine the kind of literary prowess that blends the ambitious visual appetite of a painter like Picasso with the intuitive hunting skills of Daniel Boone. Chappell is one of the true deans of American literature, having spent 40 years teaching poetry and creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and garnering state, national and international prizes for his poetry and fiction (more than two dozen books and counting). He served several years as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate, was inducted into the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame in 2006, and has penned countless essays, book reviews and correspondences with fellow writers. 
In his 1981 masterpiece, Midquest (a Dante-esque mid-life perspective), he gathered poems thematically under the four basic elements: earth, wind, water and fire. In his 2004 book of poems, Backsass, Chappell put a modern spin on the sharp wit of Roman satirists Martial and Juvenal — the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert of their day. In Chappell’s last poetry collection, shadow box, he crafted poems embedded within poems — the kind of mind-bending wordplay equivalent to 3-D chess.     
So you’d think it would be easy enough for a celebrated author to give himself a free pass on intellectual dexterity just once and wax sentimentally about warm-and-fuzzy memories cuddling a favorite tabby — a book version of those kitty videos that get 10 million views on Facebook. One could imagine a host of purr-fectly a-mews-ing puns that await this paw-sibility. 
Not a chance with Chappell, who once again delivers poems that elevate his subject with style and nuance, clever rhymes, sly humor and classical allusions. Chappell celebrates the sublime and stately cats, the midnight marauders and temperamental toms, the ink-stained footprints left across the pages of our lives, the thieves and detectives that haunt our film noir dreams. 
In these poems, we see with cats’ eyes what humans deem invisible. We see what hides behind walls, what glides past mirrors, what slinks through shadows. We linger awhile at the timeworn chair where kitten and kin have sat for generations. We pay tribute to those cats who stand guard, who know the whispers of history, who explore the depths of the unknown.
In “Passerby” we meet Black Margo who “stalks across a grave / Casting her moonlit shadow on the name / Of the tenant peaceful beneath the stone / In his bony frame.” What force draws this cat to wake the dead with the touch of paw on tombstone? One dark silence brushes against another in the middle of a nameless night.
In “Ritual,” we learn the initiation for cats seeking to earn their nine lives: “Do you vow by existence One / never to utter the secret name / Of any feline wild or tame / Either in earnest or in fun?” 
A whole cast of characters inhabits these pages — Jekyll-and-Hyde Emilia, regal Reginald, amorous Tom Juan, omnipotent Black Stella, and the ever-present Chloe (who, through repeated references to ol’ Fred and his wife Susan, appears to be a familiar in the Chappell household). 
In “Jubilate Felis,” we ponder the paradox of cat-ness, the whims of cat genius, the wonders of cat-like observations:  “For she will watch a Television machine with birds of interest in-/side the belly of it … For she does not know what I am laughing about … For she knows what Cat Nip does but not what it is.”
And yet, for all the majesty and grace these cats employ, they have their missteps and clueless episodes. Chappell illumines these imperfections as well. One famous feline star of the stage has fallen on tough times: “He hawks Kleen Kitty litter and flea collars, / Bowing to his agent’s decision. / I understand a chap must gather dollars— / But this is the saddest scandal of our age!” 
These are poems worth reading again and again. Who else could rhyme sang froid with bourgeois? Who else dares to write poems embedded within poems? Who else riffs on Shakespearean stanzas, ends a homage with a jolt of slang, and then deftly delivers odes on the subtle gestures of cat tails?
Cats have enjoyed star status for millennia — from their glorious worship in ancient Egypt to their glamorous cameos in Hollywood movies. If their personalities continue to be indescribable, unfathomable, impossible for us to discern, who else but Fred Chappell would be up to the task to give them their due in poetic verse? 
Michael Beadle is a poet, author and touring writer-in-residence living in Canton, NC.

Fred Chappell will read from his newest book of poetry at 3 p.m. on Aug. 24 at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. A ticket for two reserved seats is available with advance purchase of the book. 828.456.6000.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Untyying the Knot, A Book Review  by Nancy Simpson

Untying the Knot  (Kelsay Books, 2014) by poet Karen Paul Holmes is a first book that arrives in the hands of its reader fully accomplished with maturity not often seen in a first attempt. This is a book you will want to read cover to cover in one sitting. Be assured that is easy to do, for it is much like reading a satisfying short story with rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.  I am not trying to confuse you, it is not fiction. Make no mistake, this is poetry drenched in emotion with vivid imagery and fine tuned line breaks. In her art, the poet takes risks. She’s painfully honest. As a reader, we suck in breath and whisper, wait, wait, be careful, but the author releases all, knowing she can never take back one word.

Holmes connects quickly and fully with the reader on a sensory level, on an intellectual level and on an emotional level as she reveals step by step the breaking of the circle of life, the untying of her marriage that has lasted for over thirty years. Being left, humiliated by her husband and a friend, she uses up all her options to survive it, even tries to reconcile for the sake of the family. The most powerful poem in the book is “Telling My Mother” reprinted for you in full below.

Finally she leaves, hoping to find a new way to live. There is much of humanity in these poems. We can learn from this book, if you do not already know. If you have been divorced yourself, be prepared for a flood of old horrors to over take you and blind you. Do not imagine you can remain open minded about anything as simple as a metaphor or a caesura. You might have to read the book a second time, as I did. 

Untying the Knot is a book that deserves to be read for the sheer enjoyment of poetic accomplishment. The humor comes through, the skill of writing, and the skill of handling such topics as “She Who Will Not Be Named.” Step by step, we learn “I’m Really Not Crazy, but She Is”--and that’s when we get a glimpse of her-- named “C.” Finally she the other woman is identified as Catherine, a name destined to fall to the bottom of the Popular Girl Names List. 

It was hard to choose my favorite poem because as you will see, there are many very good ones. I choose the first one in the book, “Drawn Into Circles,” for I have known this poem since I read it in draft form and knew then it would always be a favorite. It is an excellent first poem in the book because it  sets up the Circle of Life theme. Holmes writes, “How life loves/a circle:/the sun/ cups of tea,/ pizza, roses, embraces/ wedding rings/ cathedral domes, bells/ with notes radiating like ripples from skipped stones/. The complete poem is  reprinted for you below. 

I recommend this book. Buy a copy for yourself and buy a copy for someone who needs it now.

From the Back Cover of Untying the Knot

—Dorianne Laux, author of The Book of Men and Facts About the Moon
These poems are poems about the pains of a broken marriage. About half the people who have ever been married would be eligible to write on the subject, but very few, if any others, could do it with such grace, humor, self-awareness, and without a dollop of self-pity, as Karen Paul Holmes has in Untying the Knot. This is a courageous deeply human book.
—Thomas Lux, author of Child Made of Sand and God Particles
In Karen Paul Holmes’s Untying the Knot, betrayal and sorrow are recontextualized into an acknowledgment of the transitory nature of relationships and the capacity to find joy through language. Indeed, in this work, one that dignifies a sadness so many feel, “a spark ignites the dry leaves” in lucid and radiant ways, creating poetry that not only enriches us, but possesses the potential to teach us ways to navigate and ultimately transcend the difficulties of divorce and the feelings of loss and grief such division engenders.
—William Wright, series editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, author of Night Field Anecdote and Bledsoe 
About the Author
Karen Paul Holmes has an MA in music history from the University of Michigan. She eventually moved south and worked her way into a career that involved her love of writing: She became Vice President-Marketing Communications at ING, a global financial services company. Karen is now a freelance writer and owner of two naughty Welsh Terriers.
Karen founded/hosts the Side Door Poets group in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2012, she received an Elizabeth George Foundation emerging writer grant for poetry. Her publishing credits include a number of journals and anthologies, including Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Main Street Rag, Caesura, POEM, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, American Society: What Poets See (FutureCycle Press), and the Southern Poetry Anthology Vol 5: Georgia (Texas Review Press). You may contact her through her web site:


Telling My Mother

She’s 85. Upsets make her heart palpitate
so we couch what we say. Or maybe we always have.
Now that Ken has been gone six weeks
my siblings and I confer on how to tell her
that he left me.
She loves him.

I wait until my sister travels to Florida
as back-up support for Mother, then call. Hear myself
somehow keep my voice from quaking.
He wants to separate for a while...depressed
since thyroid surgery. I think
he’ll be back.

She’s sad for me but surprisingly supportive.
Motherly. Modern. Sometimes couples do well
with a break: Their marriage becomes stronger.
I didn’t know any of her friends did that
but I believe her.

She visits me in Appalachia a few months later.
As we walk by the lake, he calls my cell. Some business
item to discuss. As usual, we try to keep a light note.
He chirps, Say hi to Baba.
(The name our daughter calls her.)
I cannot say to him
You’ve broken Baba’s heart too.

I put the phone in my back pocket
take her thin hand, let her rest on a fieldstone bench.
To her questioning face, I tell a small lie
His calls don’t bother me anymore.
I do not give her his regards.

Next day, she and I are driving
the two hours back to my mountain cabin after I’d read
at an Asheville Bookstore. Before we get
to the hairpin curves, it suddenly feels right to say
He had an affair.
He lives with her now.

She’s not surprised. Maybe by 85 she’s heard it all.
My contact lenses fogging, the road is a blur, but no
slowing down She was my good friend.
Mother, angry now, controlled
He never loved you enough.
He expected you to be perfect.

Though I know the route, I get lost--
we pass thick dark pines, cliffs, the fast Nantahala,
feel lucky for this scenic detour.
At home, I sense a burden was tumbled
clean in the rapids, washed
down the river.

Drawn Into Circles

Last evening, I placed fresh towels on both dog beds
heard scratching and rearranging in the night.
This morning, each dog lay curled
into a circle of towel
like a bird’s nest.

How life loves a circle:
the sun
cups of tea
pizza, roses, embraces
wedding rings, cathedral domes, bells
with notes radiating like ripples from skipped stones
the egg, the womb, the opening, downy heads
sucking mouths, breasts, eyes filled
with delight for bubbles
and bouncing balls.

Why do we box ourselves into corners
put our babies into rectangular cribs
build square houses and boxy buildings
drive cars to perpendicular crossroads
stare at newspapers, monitors, dollars
go to our rest in hard-edged coffins
slowly lowered into matching graves?

It’s a comfort
to imagine our rounded bones
becoming round bits of the globe
our spirits rising to orbit among spiral galaxies
joining those who completed the circle before us. 

(Please leave a comment.)

Buy your copy from  Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press
24600 Mountain Avenue, 35
Hemet, California 92544 (Book cover price  $16.00)
Buy on line from the press at $14.40
Also available at for $14.40
or contact the author for a signed copy. (

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Texas Review Press Breakthrough Poetry Prize: North Carolina.

IMPORTANT for NC Practicing poets: Calling for a NC poet's first a full-length poetry collection of poems.

WOW -  No reading fee.

Full-length poetry manuscripts are now being considered for The Texas Review Press Breakthrough Poetry Prize: North Carolina. The TRP Breakthrough Prize is designed to find and champion emerging poets in every state of the American South. This year, we seek book-length manuscripts of 50-80 pages from residents of North Carolina who have not published a full-length collection of poems.  Please include a cover letter with your submission, as well as two title pages—one with your contact information, including e-mail address, mailing address, and phone number—and the other with the title only. Include an acknowledgments page for previous publications. Paul Ruffin to judge.

There is no reading fee. The Breakthrough Poetry Prize entails publication of the winning manuscript, national distribution via the Texas A&M University Press Consortium, plus twenty-five free copies furnished to author upon publication.

All submissions must be sent as e-mail attachments to in one of the following formats: MS Word 1997-2003 (.doc), MS Word 2007/2010 (.docx); Rich Text Format (.rtf); or Portable Digital Format (.pdf). Please include a short (75-100 word) bio as a separate attachment in one of the above formats. Please send your manuscripts to William Wright at Also, please put in the subject heading of the e-mail NC Breakthrough followed by your name in parentheses, e.g., NC Breakthrough (William Wright).
 Deadline for submissions is September 15, 2014 . Texas Review Press looks forward to considering your work.  
William Wright, Ph.D.
Contributing Editor, Shenandoah
Founding Editor, Town Creek Poetry


announcement from Lucy Cole Gratton

Just a note to remind you that NetWest
will NOT have a reading at John Campbell
Folk School this month.  The Folk School’s
schedule is extremely crowded in July
and they have  not been able to fit us in
for several years. 

So this Thursday, relax and read some of
your own work.

Be ready to support Glenda Beall and
Estelle Rice in August.  That should be
worth waiting for.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


HEADS UP to NC WRITERS NETWORK MEMBERS and Western NC mountain writers.
A golden opportunity for short story (fiction ) writers.

John C Campbell Folk School is offering a free writing  WEEK END class with only a $25.00 registration fee.

Here's the class info:
Date: Friday, July 11 - Sunday, July 13, 2014
Subject: Writing 
Instructor: Valerie Nieman

Writers are challenged to create deep and complex characters. We'll discuss where our characters come from, and then work on techniques for “building” them through clustering, interpreting family structures, and placing them in moral dilemmas. Writing exercises will help you discover more about your characters and understand why they do what they do. Suitable for fiction and nonfiction writers at all levels.

Ellen Schofield, Program Coordinator for NC Writers Network West

call, Register now.

Tammy Godfrey
Assistant Program Manager
John C. Campbell Folk School

Monday, July 7, 2014

WRITERS NIGHT OUT Features Lucy Cole Gratton

Contact:  Karen Holmes for Info
(404) 316-8466,

Lucy Cold Gratton

Local Writer Reading at Writers’ Night Out

Writers and readers are invited to Writers’ Night Out, a free monthly event at the Union County Community Center. On July 12, the featured reader is Lucy Cole Gratton who writes poetry and short essays of interest and misadventures about activities around her property on Lake Apalachia.  The program begins with a social hour at 6 p.m. (dinner available for purchase). The reading follows 7 p.m., and there’s also an open microphone for those who’d like to read their own writing.  
Gratton is a retired CPA living in Murphy, NC. After retirement and her move to the mountains, she served as Executive Director for the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition for several years. She continues to assist with accounting for the Coalition as well as serving many volunteer hours. Writing for herself for many years, she has only lately sought to get published with some success.  Her interests in protecting our natural environment are reflected in her writings and life here. 
Gratton is an active member and volunteer of the North Carolina Writers Network (NCNW) and has attended several poetry classes at the John Campbell Folk School, where she has also been a featured reader. She holds a BA in mathematics from Agnes Scott College and a Masters degree in Education in mathematics from the University of Florida.
Writers’ Night Out is sponsored by NCWN-West and normally takes place on the second Saturday of the month (third Saturday in October). Prose writers or poets wishing to participate in the open mic can sign up at the door to read for three minutes. The four-year-old event recently moved at the Union County Community Center, 129 Union County Recreation Rd., Blairsville, Georgia 30512, off Highway 129 near the intersection of US 76, phone (706) 439-6092.  Signs will be posted to direct attendees to either the upstairs ballroom or A-B conference room for the event. For more information, please contact Karen Holmes at (404) 316-8466 or

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Brenda Kay Ledford

NC WRITERS NETWORK WEST'S  monthly reading a John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown will be held on Thursday June 26, 2014. That is the 4th Thursday eve (not as usual.) The featured Readers are Brenda Kay Ledford and Nancy Simpson both of Hayesville, NC.  7:00 p.m. at in Keith House on the folkschool campus.

Nancy Simpson

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A New Poet Laureate for America --Charles Wright

The Library of Congress announced on Thursday, June 12, 2014 that the new American Poet Laureate is Charles Wright, 78, a retired professor from the University of Virginia. Previously he has won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, The Bollingen Prize, and  Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Charles Wright was born in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee.

Friday, May 23, 2014


CONGLAVE: A JOURNAL OF CHARACTER is open for submissions for Issue 8 - Autumn, 2014 death, candy, costumes, leaves, pumpkins, ghosts, whatever halloween means to you. Conclave is a bi-annual print journal that focuses on character-driven.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


NC Writers Network West's Writing Conference in  Sylva, NC on May 10th turned out to be the most fulfilling writing event of year 2014 for me. Best of all was seeing and visiting with long-time, treasured writing friends.  It was indeed restorative for me to spend time with my writing friends and to share with fellow poets some of the secrets of how we can build a readership for our poetry. It was a joy for me to share discussion time with Kathryn Stripling Byer. A family member remarked at how I came home with a spring in my step.

Kathryn Stripling Byer, NC Poet Laureate Emertia

For a long time, NCWN West has hoped to establish an annual writing conference and that goal was approved two years ago by NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern. NCWN West Program Director Ellen Schofield coordinated this event with the help of Kathryn Stripling Byer and Newton Smith, Jackson County's Netwest Representatives who hosted the event held at the historic  Jackson  County Courthouse Complex and also with the help of former Program Director Glenda Beall, Gay Moring, J C Walkup, Linda M. Smith,  Joan Howard and Lana Hendershott.

Kathryn Stripling Byer, NC Poet Laureate Emertia and NC Writers Network West Program Coordinator Ellen Schofield

JC Walkup, long time  NCWN member from Haywood County, author of new novel Partners and  William Everett, author of seven books and many articles  in English and German on ethical issues in Religion and Society, who taught ethics many years in theological seminaries and graduate schools.

Poet and long time member of NCWN West Dr. Gene Hirsch and his wife Ginny, residents of Pittsburg, PA and Cherokee County North Carolina. Gene Hirsch joined Netwest only two years after it began and he established NCWN West's  first monthly critique group for both poets and writers that still continues to meet monthly 21 years later. 

It is true I did return home with a spring in my step and with deep appreciation in my heart  for all of those who worked to coordinate such a day of inspiration
for our writers. Some of the  mountain writers do sometimes feel we are far from the writing centers of our country, even far from the writing centers of our our own state.  NCWN West has worked hard to promote writing and to serve our writers for over 23 years now. 

I want to assure you, I also returned home with a deep feeling that I too was appreciated, carrying in my arms an exotic multi-blooming purple orchid, which was presented to me as ( they said as founder of NCWN West). Those who know me know that I  always say and will always say "I am a co founder." I still deeply appreciate the guidance of then NCWN Executive Director Marsha Warren who defined the best of what NCWN West would become and  Debbie McGill then NC Arts Council Literary Director in Raleigh who organized our first meetings and ultimately got us mountain writer invited to the NCWN Fall Conference in 1991 and got us connected to NCWN. I honor Kathryn Stripling Byer as a cofounder because she signed and sent the first letter to invite the mountain writers to meet in Jackson County when Debbie McGill came out to the mountains to meet with us, and thus brought us all together for that first  meeting. How could I say no to "having dinner in Sylva with Debbie McGill when I had just received the NC Artist Fellowship for Poetry from her. I admit I did not know what I was getting myself into. Some months later, Kathryn and I were the  two members there in the room at the NCWN fall Conference when Marsha Warren and then President Anthony Abbott invited us to bring the mountain writers in as a special program under the umbrella of NCWN. This is the true account of how and when NCWN West began. Kathryn Stripling Byer has served as consultant to NCWN West from the beginning and served one year as Program Coordinator when our PC Glenda Beall had to resign during her husband's illness. That was a crucial year, as some of you remember well, because it was at the very time we were bringing our our second anthology --Echoes Across the Blue Ridge. It was the sale of that  anthology that now affords NCWN West the opportunity to hold regular writing events here in the far western NC mountains.  At the time Kathryn Stripling Byer served as P.C. she gave invaluable service in getting an introduction written by Robert Morgan and also got the best blurbs from renowned authors for the back book cover. Many times through the past 23 years I confessed and still say that I will never do much of anything related to poetry without first consulting with Kathryn Stripling Byer.

My orchid is the most beautiful flower I have ever seen. I am determined to keep it alive. If you have any inside knowledge of how to care for an orchid, please let me know as soon as possible.

Back home now, more than a week later,  I am still thinking about that very special day. I want to remind the poets who attended our discussion about  "Building a Readership for Your Poetry, " that my offer still stands to reprint some of your poems on this blog. Send 3-5 already published poems ( giving credit to the place it was first published) with your photo and a brief bio.
( This is in keeping with the idea of getting your poems out there and keeping them out there in print, the old poems as well as the newly written ones.   Also, in the future, I am working to get this site revamped. I need more readers and more comments. In return, each week, I plan to give a listing of five open markets looking for poems. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Clay County Poetry Contest --IT'S A TIE for FIRST PLACE

Clay County Historical and Art Council in Hayesville, North Carolina recently announced the winners of their 23 Annual adult Poetry Contest which is open each year to practicing poets who reside in Clay County, North Carolina. This year's poetry judge Nancy Simpson found it impossible to name a winner among the top two finalists. Two poets were named in a tie for first place --left to right--Linda Grayson Jones and Kimberly Chastain at an Evening of Art and Poetry held at Hayesville High School Lecture Hall on April 22, 2014.

Dr. Linda G. Jones, Associate Professor of Biology,Dean of the Division of Mathematics and Science at Young Harris College.

She joined the faculty of Young Harris College in 2009 and teaches human anatomy and physiology, animal physiology, comparative anatomy, developmental biology and various seminar courses. She earned her B.S. in biology from Stetson University, and both her M.A. in biology and Ph.D. in pathology from Vanderbilt University. She completed her postdoctoral studies in pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego.
She won First Place for her poem "The Bloody Pond Shiloh April 6-7, 1862"

Kimberly Chastain writes almost exclusively of her home in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. She teaches English at Hayesville Middle School. She won First Place for her poem, "High Fields."

Second Place went to Rana Williams ( not pictured) for her poem 
"To Mother Nature."

Third Place went to Dorothy James (not pictured) for her poem 
"The Church on the Deck.

Alice Andrews received Honorable Mention for her poem "I Don't Remember."
Poetry Contest Judge Nancy Simpson was present at the award ceremony, and she read a  selection of her mountain poems from her most recent book, LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE New and Selected Poems published at Carolina Wren Press in Durham,NC.