About Me

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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."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

the writing studio at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Sept.13-18, 2009, I spent a week in the writing studio at John C. Campbell Folk School, teaching a writing class.

Cane Weaving Chair Seats and Backs was taught by Raleigh, NC instructor Bud Conner.

I'm reliving memory today. Can't help it. It was one of the best classes I have taught. The class was WHAT'S IN YOUR WRITING FOLDER? and our focus was writing the personal essay, short short and poetry. The students this time were all living in the south, all writing on their own, all having individual projects they hoped to advance, and I am happy to say, they did that.

Writer, Mary Louise Stark from Rabun County Georgia

Class member, Poet Rachel Bronnum is a member of NCWN West and she has two poems forthcoming in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge.

An excerpt from My Journey to Appalachia by Eleanor Lambert Wilson will be included in the forthcoming anthology Echoes Across the Blue Ridge: Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers Living in and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains edited by Nancy Simpson.

On Monday when I gave a personal essay writing assignment, the students scatterd to find a place to write. I found Lisa sitting outside under what we call "The Poet Tree." When we shared our writing later in the day she said, " I didn't write an essay. I could only write a poem." I said,
"That's because you were sitting under the poet tree. We got a big laugh out of that, and I took her picture under the tree.

Scientist Walter Schrimper from Tennessee, caught writing his essay "Apples and Atoms"

On Thursday afternoon, the class read in a public reading at the school. We had a good audience, all chairs filled. That was encouraging. As the period went on, we learned that many in the audience were from the Recycling Class. I thought that odd, but one of our class members said it is not strange at all that the recycling class came to support us because we both do the same thing. True. On Friday when we went to the student exhibit, I was most taken by the work of the recycling class.

THE ART OF REUSE: WORKING WITH SALVAGE AND FOUND OBJECTS taught by Kimberly Joris at Sept. 13-18, 2009 at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Fuchsia and impatiens still bloom.

Change is in the air - the redbud tree is turning its heart shaped leaves to yellow. Butterfly bushes keep blooming until the hard freeze.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

N C Writers Network West's 18th Annual Picnic

THIS IS OLD INFO. ANNUAL PICNIC WILL BE HELD THE SECOND SUNDAY IN SEPTEMBER - 2010. Contact the NCWN West Program Coordinator Kathryn Stripling Byer for details of the 2010 Annual Picnic and open mic reading.

Sunday, September 13, 2009 the North Carolina Writers Network West held their 18th Annual Picnic at Lake Chatuge near Hayesville, North Carolina. Glenda Beall welcomed all and introduced the guest for the day,

Ed Southern.

The guest writer for the day was Ed Southern, Executive Director of NCWN. He recognized Netwest Program Coordnator Glenda Beall for her years of service and he told what a pleasure it was to work with her. Southern also announced that the new NCWN West Program Coordinator will be Kathryn Stripling Byer.

Later, Southern read from his most recent publication, a collection of short stories titled Parlous Angels, Press 53, (2009 Winston Salem.) To order at copy contact Press http://www.press53.comor PO Box 30314

Winston Salem, NC 27130.

Ed Southern was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and began making up characters and stories shortly after. Before he was 10 years old, his mother had decided that “either this child is going to be a writer, or we’re going to have to spend a fortune on therapy for him.” (Whether that was a valid either/or proposition is still to be determined.) Southern’s previous work, all nonfiction, includes The Jamestown Adventure, Voices of the American Revolution in the Carolinas, and Sports in the Carolinas. He lives in Winston-Salem, and is executive director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

The Picnic, which was open to all writers within drivng distance, included a reading by the featured author Ed Southern and also featured an open mic reading.

Below: Poets Linda M. Smith and Dorothea Speigel. Look for their new poems in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge:Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers Living in and Inspired By the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Below: Brenda Kay Ledford will have three poems in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge. Blanche Ledford will have an essay.

Below: Poet Clarence Newton. Look for two of his new poems that will be featured in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge.

Below: NCWN West Prose Critique Leader has two stories forthcoming in Echoes Across the Blue Riege. Glenda Barrett,author of a poetry collection WHEN THE SAP RISES, has two poems forthcoming in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Telling by Linda Taylor Kane

It comes to me sometimes,
what happened,
but when summer haze
wraps around these mountains
making them reflections
of the ones behind them, you can't tell
if they're fibbing about themselves,
or if they're really there.
They drape like drowsy shadows,
as though you could see right through them
if you just stared hard enough.

That's when I start to question:
Did it happen that way?

But the next morning when I wake up,
the day will be clear and cool.
Each one of these hills will be
right where it has always been,
its crisp blues and greens reaching up,
claiming its own named place.

Just so you know, when I'm telling you,
it's all in how the light plays.

--Linda Taylor Kane

Previously published in

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September - A Rumor From Above the Frost Line

Living Above the Frost Line is a dwelling place for practicing poets. Up here, we give ourselves some extra growing time. As said before, we know the hard freeze will come, but until it arrives we shall grow and share our poems. Flowers bloom here until the killing freeze.

September is a hardy month. Flowers are blooming across the ridge. Insects are active. Bees swarm everywhere, in fact, I have to watch that I don't cross their bee line. Butterflies thrive in a butterfuly bush heaven.

Autumn Joy

Aster with bees

My favorite pathway with Knock Out Roses, Crepe Myrtle, Cleome, False Sunflowers and Japanese Lanterns.

As to the poetry here above the frost line, rumor has it that the poems will bloom this year, perhaps even beyond the hard freeze. Impossible, I know. It's a rumor.

Buddelia devidii White Profusion Butterfly Bush

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Matters of Life and Death from Above the Frost Line

"Old trees bend. Like women
and like men, they die and fall
or else the fall and die."
from "Living on the Mountain" --Nancy Simpson

Coming uprooted. Yes, trees die in the forest every day,
some from long term disease.

Life comes and then minutes, days, weeks, months go, leaving each of us with the truth of life. Life is hard for everyone. In my circle there have been too many new deaths and too many old deaths to relive. Dealing with the loss at the time of death is painful enough, so why are we required to hurt again and again, each time we touch the arm of his favorite chair, each time we polish her silver?

Catch me. I'm falling

Thanks, but just so you know, I'm still falling.