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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."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


The Southern Appalachian Mountain Region is full of poets, or so it seems. I've met many of them in my work with N.C. Writers Network West. So many I cannot keep count.

Maren O. Mitchell is one of those poets who found her way to the mountains, made a home here and began writing and publishing her poems in literary magazies. I am happy to bring you three poems by Maren O. Mitchell.

Maren O. Mitchell’s poems have appeared in the Red Clay Reader, “The Richmond Broom,” “The Arts Journal,” “Appalachian Journal” and “Journal of Kentucky Studies.” She has taught poetry at Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock, NC, and catalogued at the Carl Sandburg Home NHS. With her husband and cats, she lives in Young Harris, GA.



light on this earth’s moon,

I want to slip you down

to my house tonight, moon

and take out of your

booming beacon tangerine section

an everlasting sweet toothshattering bite,

tonight moon, and when

I’m through, I’ll slip you up

(before our benefactor shines)

and no one, early morning moon

will ever know, juicy morning moon

until tomorrow, early night moon moon.

by Maren O. Mitchell

(Published in “The Arts Journal”)


This isn’t the poem I want to be writing.

Unwritten, that poem hovers startlingly close:

the flying saucer whose origin,


change of direction,

are less than imaginable

and I, not in the time and the space

from which sighting is imaginable.

I’d much rather be writing of the stench

of marigolds on my fingertips pulling

me, nose first, into marigold heart.

Of breathing: a dangerous profession. In.

Out. And the insolence to do it again.

Of smiles exchanged. Instead,

I write of a cat-bitten grasshopper,

still grass hopping, entrails trailing

or of the Möbius strip of living

within sight of suicide. Maybe

it’s that every other lifetime

I write of waking after sleep

and this lifetime is the other.

by Maren O. Mitchell

(Published in “The Arts Journal”)


Fifty years ago Cat’s Ankle could have been

where you always wanted to live…ever since

you wanted to live some place.

Store fronts posture

to keep up with each other;

store purposes as constant as the Western illusion.

Hitching posts wait patiently beside parking meters

for dog food horses. Daytime walkers

become nighttime contenders for mutual fear.

Side streets take years off the town.

The woman raising her window

to let in her nightly purple sage

recognizes a friend in the plain midnight mirror,

the one who will be around as long as she.

And she is content. Although she’s read

that only six skins separate one body from another.

Further out, splotched by cottonwood groves,

headstones go back to Cole Younger and starlight.

But you must return to town—

the one shadow you fear, following.

The showdown with the sun,

the walk up Main Street’s canyon, await.

Always. And you always shoot yourself.

by Maren O. Mitchell

(Published in “The Richmond Broom”)


Glenda said...

Great photo, Maren. Maren's poetry is the kind I must read more than once to glean every subtle nuance of meaning from the language.
Thanks for posting her work, Nancy.

Pat Workman said...

Most enjoyable! I especially liked "NOT THE POEM". I will come back and read them again.

karenh said...

Maren's poems are always so interesting, and these three are no exception. I'm glad you featured her on your blog, Nancy.

Anonymous said...

Maren can really write a fine poem. They make me think. Thanks for sharing them. Also her photo was great! Glenda Barrett