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Nancy Simpson's LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE, New and Selected Poems was published by Carolina Wren Press (N.C. Laureate Series, 2010.) She is the author of ACROSS WATER and NIGHT STUDENT, State Street Press, still available on WWW at Alibris and Books Again. Her poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review and other literary magazines. "Carolina Bluebirds" was published in THE POETS GUIDE TO THE BIRDS, Anhinga Press). "Grass" was reprinted in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Southern Poetry Review: DON'T LEAVE HUNGRY ( U.of Arkansas Press.) Seven poems were reprinted in the textbook, SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN POETRY,(McFarland.) Two poems were published in SOLO CAFE, Two more poems were published in SOLO NOVO."In the Nantahala Gorge" was published in Pisgah Review. "Studying Winter" was reprinted in Pirene's Fountain Anthology and "The Collection" in Collecting Life Anthology. Most recently, Southern Poetry Review Edited by James Smith, published "Our Great Depression," and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII: NORTH CAROLINA,Edited by William Wright, reprinted "Leaving in the Dead of Winter."

Friday, January 16, 2009

WRITING ASSIGNMENT Instructor: Poet, Nancy Simpson


It is January, and it is the coldest day of the year. Your car stalled. You have to walk the rest of the way home, carrying something heavy. It is not your only burden on this cold day. Write a poem or write a scene for a short story.


Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Hi Nancy, I love the way you have your blog set up and how you weave your own work in with others. I'm glad to have met Karen Holmes!
Stay warm tonight.

Nancy Simpson said...

Thanks Kay and especially thanks for letting us feature some of your poems. We're open to your words anytime.

I love your blogs and I check them each day.

And yes, Karen Holmes is a special someone. We are happy to have her join us in our NCWN West efforts. She's doing the Netwest News newsletter now.

Yes, yes you too, stay warm, even it it takes two sets of clothing and both electric and gas logs for heat.

Lynn ... said...

Mines up at my blog, Mom! I loved this!!!! This was so much fun!!!


Love you!!!

Nancy Simpson said...

Lynn is the first one to do the assignment and share it with us. It brought laughter from deep in my lungs. Trust me, it is pure fiction. Most of you know, there is nothing more fun that writing fiction.

To read Lynn's story:


karenh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
karenh said...

OK, here we go. I didn't exactly follow the assignment but it inspired me anyway! The line breaks are not showing up correctly in the narrow column though. Many of the one-, two- or three-word lines belong with the previous line.

Lettuce and Doubt

It’s January.
It’s not Alaska, where
my sister-in-law told me her lettuce froze and cracked
as she walked from the grocery story to the parking lot,
but it’s dang cold
for a Georgia girl.
My car stopped several blocks from home,
my cell phone died,
I have on high heels
and no socks.
I walk.
Today’s worry hums in my head,
but the clear cold freezes and cracks my doubt,
the warmth of a free conscience hits me as I open the door.

A comfy cup of tea thaws my hands and insides.

Then I remember the bag of groceries in the back seat.
I could put on sneakers, a warmer coat…
The furnace murmurs noooo,
a confirming thought rises with the steam from my tea:
Surely my car will stay as cold as the inside
of my refrigerator, until morning, at least.
And if it gets even colder,
nothing of value will freeze.

Nancy Simpson said...

Karen, thanks for doing the assignment and for working so hard on it, not sending it until you got it just the way you wanted it..

I know you are frustrated with this post, a poem, but the form and your line breaks have been ruined. I am sorry and I will try to make it right.

Nancy Simpson

Nancy Simpson said...

Hello All, This writing assignment generated some interest here in the dead of winter. The best short story was written by Lynn Hamilton Rutherford of Georgia who wrote "Walking in Heels in January." Her burden to bear was an injured dog.


The best poem was written by Karen Holmes of Georgia/ NC. Her poem titled "Lettuce and Doubt" is found in this list of comments, with line breaks as she intended. The speaker of her poem is also walking in heels in cold weather. Her burden to bear is groceries.

Thanks to all who tried. Another assignment will be posted soon.