About Me

My photo
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."

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Did you say it is a full sun perennial garden growing in the middle of a decidous forest in southern Appalachia?


And you said you can't keep her in, that she is out there now making a list of yellow flowers that bloomed from spring to the end of June--some still blooming.


So, she has a lot of time to spare these days?

No one said that.

Forsythia and Daffodils bloomed in March.

Shasta Daisy bloomed here in April. They were topped and will bloom again before the frost.

A single magical Iris also bloomed in April.

Sundrops and the Asiaitic Lily bloomed Mid May.

Gloriosa Daisy in full bloom mid June and still blooming.

Garzinnia in full bloom mid June and still blooming.

False Sunflowers in full bloom in mid June and still blooming.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Celebrate the poetry of Clarence Newton, POET OF THE MONTH (JUNE 2009)

You are going to say I saved the best Clarence Newton poems for the last days of June, in this his birth month. We have a gift from Clarence, some poems he's been holding for the upcoming publication of his poetry collection tentatively titled SHORT GLANCES FORWARD, A LONG LOOK BACK.

Heart To Heart

It was a huge event
like being born again,
like life after death.

Some sunny mornings
I see old men
perched on park benches,
anxious to meet strangers.

They tell me about their health -
the nearly fatal heart attack,
and the emergency ride to
waiting doctors and nurses,
saving them in the nick of time.

With a new lease on life
they want to share the joy.
I listen with compassion;
they know I understand.

by Clarence Lee Newton

Short Glances Forward, A Long Look Back

He is not half the man he used to be
and he never was.
The lumberjack shirt and leather jackets
were not the person he was,
nor pointy - toed cowboy boots and tight jeans
and belt buckles wide as Texas gates
and big tall hats that covered his shoulders.
Much boozing, carousing and vulgarity.
Whiskey makes a fire in his stomach.

The women he loved have become
pleasant memories like
the aftertaste of bittersweet chocolate.

When driving his car for an hour
he can barely crawl out.
The smile on his face
helps mask the pain
of joints that creak and snap.

Wants and needs become simple;
comfortable shoes, loose clothing
and a soft bed to lie in.
To reminisce, to dream.
Short glances forward, a long look back.

by Clarence Lee Newton


He asked how I was feeling
as I disrobed for a physical.
I was not feeling well.
It was my heart.
It was my mind.

Explaining the loss of my son,
though still a living being,
he existed in a state of anguish.
Drugs had fried his brain.

My beautiful, intelligent child
had become a lost man.
I became a failed father,
dwelling under a cloud of regret.

“Now, now, don’t blame yourself.
It’s the times. It’s not your fault.”

He could say that, but
the good doctor could never
cure my burden of
guilt, grief and pain.

by Clarence Lee Newton

If like these poems or have comments about the poetry of Clarence Lee Newton or questions about his upcoming forthcoming poetry collection, post your comment or question below.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bill Moyer will Interview Pulitzer poet W.S. Merwin Today on PBS.

Pulitzer Winner W.S. Merwin Interviewed on PBS’s Bill Moyers Journal, Friday, June 26

Dear Friend,

This Friday, June 26, the Bill Moyers Journal will feature poet W.S. Merwin and his Pulitzer prize-winning book, The Shadow of Sirius.

For information on the broadcast in your area: Check Time and Stations.

With this second Pulitzer, Copper Canyon poet W.S. Merwin has established himself as one of the most influential poets of our time. In this candid interview with Bill Moyers, Merwin shares his unique perspective on a lifetime of literary achievements, reads poems from his new book, and fields questions ranging from poetic inspiration to political engagement.

I hope you enjoy the show and welcome your thoughts and reactions to the broadcast. We also encourage you to forward this email to friends and post a comment on our Facebook page.


Joseph Bednarik
Copper Canyon Press

Special Offer: Purchasing a copy of The Shadow of Sirius—or any of our W.S. Merwin books listed below—directly from Copper Canyon Press is an effective way to support our mission.

Order any W.S. Merwin books by June 30 and receive free shipping. Simply type “Moyers” in the “coupon code” section of our secure checkout… and while you’re there, please make a tax deductible donation. Your support—as a reader and a donor—is vital to the future of Copper Canyon Press, a non-profit publisher that invests every dollar into publishing and promoting poetry.

To read poems, reviews, and descriptions of W.S. Merwin books published by Copper Canyon Press, click on the titles below:

The Shadow of Sirius, winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize
Hardback, $22

Migration: New and Selected Poems, winner of the National Book Award
Paperback, $24

Present Company, winner of the Bobbit Poetry Prize from the Library of Congress
Paperback, $16

The Book of Fables (short prose pieces)
Paperback, $20

The First Four Books of Poems (complete text of Merwin’s first four books)
Paperback, $16

The Second Four Books of Poems (complete text of Merwin’s second four books)
Paperback, $18

Flower & Hand: Poems 1977-1983 (complete text of three Merwin volumes)
Paperback, $15

Notice: Copper Canyon Press loves poetry readers, and we occasionally send out email messages like this one to inform them about special events. If you know someone who would like to receive this email, please forward this message to them or send their address to poetry@coppercanyonpress.org and we’ll be happy to send it along. If you would like to not receive future email announcements, please send an email to poetry@coppercanyonpress.org with “Remove” in the subject line.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Three Poems to Honor Her Father on Father's Day by Nancy Simpson

There are things I could say about my father, all good. I was one of the blessed children of earth when it comes to parents. In the few times I feel my father near, now that he has passed into eterenity, I find myself being brief in my thank yous to him. "Thanks for the dancing lessons. Thanks for the homemade peach ice cream. Thanks for the wicker chair." I've also caught myself saying to no one, "You like my new house?" I owe my father 100% gratitude.

#1) My father loved me. He showed his love. He made me feel as if I was his only child when he had three other children in the house.

#2) No man every worked harder to provide for his family, and it was not all easy with war and the depression years. He provided well. I never felt that I needed more.

Depression Years - Good life at Knuckolls Dairy, Atlanta, Georgia - "All the milk a new born could need."

#3) Although he held other jobs, he was a planter. He lived for the short period of time when he could get his hands in the dirt. He'd plant corn and pole beans if he could get the ground.

Clyde Taylor Simpson in front of home 1940's, Miami, Florida. Back of photo says, "This is my house. How do you like it?"

One summer, when I was a teen, he had an ulcer. We thought it was cancer. I thought he was dying. He could not work. He left us in Miami and went to Atlanta where all of his folks lived. Mother said they would get him well. We waited to hear good or the bad news. When school was out for the summer, my mother sent me to Atlanta to see about him. Ha. He was more well than I had ever seen him. He looked tan and healthy. He had rented 10 acres of land and was growing corn like I'd never seen before. Later in his life, he gave up vegetables for flowers, but more than once I found a pineapple growing under his mango tree and found tomato bushes growing in his flower beds. Later, he became a landscaper for the Florida Racing Commission. On Sundays after church he would drive the family to Hialeah Race Track to see his gardens.

The best of life in Miami, Florida.

The last thing my father planted and grew was a cornfield in the front yard of his Hayesville, NC retirment house. No one could see the house from the road. Mother was embarrassed. Growing things is what made my father happy.

#4) The night my father died, I was traveling home from classes at UNC Asheville. My mother told me he called my name, along with the names of my sisters and brother and that he asked God to watch over us.

Bridge on the River Kwai

All those times, all those bridges,
Georgia to Florida, sand
in his shoes, red clay in his pocket.
I wonder what passed through my father's mind.

He never said much about hurricanes
or corn, except you pull it not pick it.
One summer in Georgia I primised to pull
all the corn in ten acres he planted.

Indolent girl, red clay in my pocket,
I remember a movie in East Atlanta.
Prisoners built a bridge across water,
building, building, the whole movie.

I was too young to know why
they blew it all to pieces in the end.
This morning a half drowned woman wakes me.
I open the window. She has come many miles

across water. Her memories are mine.
She gives me one starfish, one mango
and reminds me how I climbed the tree
when the flood came, after the hurricane.

I give her anemone for starfish.
I give her a mountain. The safest place to be.

by Nancy Simpson. Previously published
in Across Water and Night Student.


I think first of my father,
how one day he did not remember
passing through town. Everything
looked different. He guessed
his mind was somewhere else.

I want to thank him
for telling me, so cassual he spoke.
I want to thank him,
it means I am not crazy,
for he was not crazy.
The night he died he knew what he was doing.


He Knew how to die.
We say that of my father
and tell the story,
how he sat on the sofa
hardly breathing,
three nights without sleeping.

I was traveling home
from night school in Asheville,
ice on the road in the high elevations.


What I know I learned from my mother,
so good she was to tell me
how he sat on the sofa, praying,
calling the names of his children.

God is going to let me sleep,
he said, and died within minutes,

at the same time I was dreaming
white cloudlands, white seals,
my car plowing homeward
through Winding Stair Gap.

by Nancy Simpson. Previously published
in Across Water and Night Student.


In memory of my father
who loved to sit on a covered porch
and watch rain, I sit sheltered
and sip coffee on my covered deck
high on Cherry Mountain.
Near treetops I sing louder than
the downpour that falls inches from me.
"You like my new house?" I trill
above the sound of raindrops.

Mr.Whiskers asleep on my feet
under the wicker love seat, wakes.
He thinks my song is for him.
I look deep into gray mist, eye to eye
with thin green leaves of a thousand trees
and sing welcome to white blossoms
on dogwood trees no one planted.
I am singing. I am singing to my father
who loved to sit close to rain.

by Nancy Simpson

Previously published in LIGHTS IN THE MOUNTAINS,
Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers
Living in and Inspired by the
Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Two Poems by Pat Workman

Many of our writers in the western Carolina mountains know Pat Workman. She is one of my favorite poets. I met her through North Carolina Writers Network West, and for a number of years we both attended the montly poetry critique group. She's a fine poet. Here are two of my favorite poems.

evenin song by Pat Workman

it was that time after supper
drippin dishes on tha drain board
tappin bug wings at tha screen
keepin time

she a-leanin
on tha weathered porch rail
dreamin her next song
keepin time
with a-moon glidin past midnight
...her blues notes chillin
tha fevered air

in tha porch swing
her momma a singin
keepin time
with tha chain’s gentle squeakin
her alto shape notes seekin
harmony with specters of her youth

two kinds of song
two kinds of longin
become one kind of comfort
keepin time
singn this life and tha past

Full Circle by Pat Workman

My thoughts rumble when thunder
vaults the Nantahala mountain coves;
my nostrils fill with the smell of sweat
soaked leather and the blowing rain
becomes a horse’s mane slapping
me back to range those salty trails
with the Mormon Sons of Daniel.

I must have been a Danite
with ten wives to cook and clean,
ten guns to fire in the name of God,
ten horses to guard my boundaries,
and ten hundred heirs
to insure my grip upon the land.

In this Appalachian lifetime,
I am a lone wife living with
a man who needed ten.
Now...I fire words
in the name of peace
and teach my sons
that we can never own
a single grain of sand.

previously published in LIGHTS IN THE MOUNTAINS
Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers Living in
and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains


Pat says she is a mountain climbing, rock turning, tree hugging native of Macon County, NC. After living in Ky, Fl, SC and GA, she and her husband, Dwain, retired to Hayesville, NC in 1996. She first joined North Carolina Writers' Network in 1998 after taking her first poetry class at the John C Campbell Folk School. Pat considers herself to be a late-blooming, erratically creative, Dyslexic Poet.

Pat was an X-Ray Technologist and doctor's assistant—1963 to1967. Through the years she continued to take college courses on the run while raising three sons and running two businesses. She and her husband owned and operated a retail business for 25 years in Helen, GA, featuring local arts and crafts, beautifully illustrated & and hard to find books, health foods and organic whole grain breads and cookies baked fresh daily.

She was a volunteer with Northeast GA Hospice, GMHI in Atlanta, the GA Dept. of Mental Health in Gainesville, a licensed counselor and Hypnotherapist—1973 to1996 as owner of the Mountain Learning Center in Helen, GA.

Her poems have been published in Main Street Rag, Independence Boulevard, Lights in the Mountains, four volumes of Freeing Jonah and the Marathon News Leader - Marathon, Texas.

Pat Workman has one of the most interesting blogs by an Appalachian poet and painter. I follow her blog. Take a look and
see I'm telling you the truth. http://pat-workman.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 12, 2009

Poets and Writers Reading Poems and Stories AT JOHN C. CAMPBELL FOLK SCHOOL

Local Writers to Read at John C. Campbell Folk School

Richard Argo

Brenda Kay Ledford

The North Carolina Writers Network West (Netwest) is happy to bring two local writers on June 25th. to the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown North Carolina. The readings will be held in the Keith House at 7:00 pm.

Brenda Kay Ledford, a native of Clay County, North Carolina, will delight all with her poetry drawn from life in these mountains. Her writing has appeared in Our State, Chicken Soup for the Soul, CAPPERS, JOURNAL OF KENTUCKY STUDIES, and other journals. She received the Paul Green Award from North Carolina Society of Historians for her poetry books, PATCHWORK MEMORIES and SHEW BIRD MOUNTAIN. Finishing Line Press published her third book, SACRED FIRE. Brenda Kay is a member of North Carolina Writers Network, North Carolina Poetry Society, Byron Herbert Reece Society, Georgia Poetry Society and listed with A DIRECTORY OF AMERICAN POETS AND FICTION WRITERS.

Richard Argo of Murphy, North Carolina is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in CAROLINA COUNTRY and LIGHTS IN THE MOUNTAINS. It is not uncommon to find bicycling as the subject of Richard's work. He brings interest to everyday things in his musings. Richard is the facilitator of the Netwest Prose Group and is a member of long standing in the North Carolina Writers Network.

article written by Mike Michelle Keller
for N.C. Writers Network West

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

October Sands - a poem by Clarence Newton


Good old boys stand strong and brave.
Like soldiers, they present arms to windblown sand
and fling long lines over breaking waves
from flexing rods in anxious hands.

Bits of mullet on barbed snares
offered to suseen drum and swift blues,
saying down with caution, drop your cares,
our plans for dinner include you.

Mile after mile and day after day they stand
with sand in their eyes and sand in their shoes
on those outter bank strands of stinging sand
as they cast for drum and cast for blues.

by Clarence Newton

On June 10, 2009, Clarence Newton of Young Harris, Georgia wasone of the featured poet at Coffee With the Poets held at Phillips and Lloyd Bookstore in Hayesville, North Carolina.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Clarence Newton is Poet of the Month for June 2009

In this his birth month, Clarence Newton of Young Harris, Georgia will be the featured Poet for the Month for June, 2009. He is a native of Virginia and worked over forty years in an avation career. After retirement, after settling in the North Georgia Mountains with his wife Lorraine, he began to study and write poetry. He took classes with poet Nancy Simpson at John C. Campbell Folk School, Tri County Community College and at Institute of Continuing Learning at Young Harris College. He is a long time member of NC Writers Network West, and he participates in the monthly poetry critique group with Janice Townley Moore as the workshop leader.

Clarence Newton's poems have been published in Freeing Jonah V and two poems are forthcoming in the new Netwest anthology.His essays have been published in Gainsville Times, Atlanta Journal and Constitution. In 2009 he was the judge for the Cherokee County Senior Games, Silver Arts Literary Awards.



I see her through my window
stepping gingerly upon green grass,
arms in the air like an evangelist,
offering her dainty flags to the wind.

Tonight she will sleep in
sun dried fragarance,
in a silk night gown that
cuddles her soft, sensuous skin.

I will see her in my dreams.

Previously published in Freeing Jonah V
and forthcoming in his poetry collection


they sit on a dock
eating two apples
he drops half
into the water,
turns to her
and sees six
seeds and a stem.
She's an American now
but has not forgotten
that she was
a child under Hitler.

Previous published in Jonah V, forthcoming in
his poetry collection


A long time since
I carried your books.
We sat by the roadside,
two eight year olds

talking about nothing.
I stole my first kiss.
You were surprised
but pleased.

I carved our initials
on a giant beech tree --
"C L loves M P".
That tree long gone.

After many decades
I searched and found you.
You didn't remember me --
thought I was someone else.

I said I was he and
wished you good health
on my way out.

Clarence Newton.