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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."

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.


Pat Workman said...

What a fitting way to end this first month of summer. These poems are real, no frills, and yet... the lamenting, the accepting, even the pain feels comfortable and right somehow. That is exactly the way it is and will be. I wish I could write half as well....

Nancy Simpson said...

Thanks Pat, I agree.

It is not just a rummor. Clarence is putting together a poetry collection for publication. I've read it, and I know others will want to read it. You are right about the lamenting and the accepting in his poetry. Much of it sparkles with humor, yet others show the life of a man who learned that some pain never goes away, some wounds never heal.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Clarence is one of my favorite people and one of my favorite poets. Thanks for sharing his poetry here. I can't wait for his book. I've been asking for it for a long, long time.