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."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The growing seasons gets extended for those who dwell above the frost line. Extending the growth season is something I’ve experienced since first coming to Cherry Mountain in the southern Appalachian mountains. A companion idea is that one’s writing life can also be extended. It’s true. Never has it been more true than this year in December 2009. Just after the hard freeze, as the last of the flowers melted into the ground, word of my poems came back to me from the literary world.

Word came from Carolina Wren Press, Durham, North Carolina, that they will publish a collection of my poetry in the spring titled Living Above the Frost Line - Selected and New Poems. It is to be the first book in their new Carolina Laureate Series and was chosen by NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer. The collection will span 32 years of my poetry writing career.

I signed the book contract on December 24th, and Janice Townley Moore, my long time poetry writing buddy, witnessed my signature. We met in the parking lot at Kerr Drug
and sat there in my car laughing and saying “Who would have thought it?” and “On Christmas Eve.” Then I drove to the US Post Office in Hayesville and mailed the contract back to the press, imagining how on Christmas Eve, the contract might accidentally end up in Santa’s sled.


Rare New Year's Eve 'blue moon' to ring in 2010


Buzz up!
901 votes




By ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer – Tue Dec 29, 7:03 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – Once in a blue moon there is one on New Year's Eve. Revelers ringing in 2010 will be treated to a so-called blue moon. According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. But don't expect it to be blue — the name has nothing to do with the color of our closest celestial neighbor. A full moon occurred on Dec. 2. It will appear again on Thursday in time for the New Year's countdown.

"If you're in Times Square, you'll see the full moon right above you. It's going to be that brilliant," said Jack Horkheimer, director emeritus of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium and host of a weekly astronomy TV show.

The New Year's Eve blue moon will be visible in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Africa. For partygoers in Australia and Asia, the full moon does not show up until New Year's Day, making January a blue moon month for them. However, the Eastern Hemisphere can celebrate with a partial lunar eclipse on New Year's Eve when part of the moon enters the Earth's shadow. The eclipse will not be visible in the Americas.

A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. On average, an extra full moon in a month — a blue moon — occurs every 2.5 years. The last time there was a lunar double take was in May 2007. New Year's Eve blue moons are rarer, occurring every 19 years. The last time was in 1990; the next one won't come again until 2028.

Blue moons have no astronomical significance, said Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "`Blue moon' is just a name in the same sense as a `hunter's moon' or a `harvest moon,'" Laughlin said in an e-mail. The popular definition of blue moon came about after a writer for Sky & Telescope magazine in 1946 misinterpreted the Maine Farmer's Almanac and labeled a blue moon as the second full moon in a month. In fact, the almanac defined a blue moon as the third full moon in a season with four full moons, not the usual three.

Though Sky & Telescope corrected the error decades later, the definition caught on. For purists, however, this New Year's Eve full moon doesn't even qualify as a blue moon. It's just the first full moon of the winter season. In a tongue-in-cheek essay posted on the magazine's Web site this week, senior contributing editor Kelly Beatty wrote: "If skies are clear when I'm out celebrating, I'll take a peek at that brilliant orb as it rises over the Boston skyline to see if it's an icy shade of blue. Or maybe I'll just howl."

posted here with Thanks to AP Science Writer Alicia Chang

Sunday, December 27, 2009


LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE will take a turn to feature even more Contemporary American Poetry in 2010. My site links with YOUR DAILY POEM managed by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, but my hope here is to specifically feature poetry by Southern and Southern Appalachian Poets who seem not to have a dependable forum on the planet. I will choose from among the best poetry I receive at nancy.simpson38@yahoo.com. I prefer to reprint poems you have already published.
My hope is to feature one published poet each month in their birth month. Contact me now to have your poems considered. 1) Send by e mail your name, birth month, title of your book, 3-5 poems and tell where they were published. You may also list how and where to buy your published work.

Other poets are invited also to send 2-3 poems, those with poems previously published in literary magazines or journals. Please tell where the poems were published so that credit may be given to the publication. I also plan to reprint poems throughout the year, no matter who is featured or not featured. Topics wanted are: Nature Poems, Environmental Poems, Moon Poems, Seasonal Poems, Holiday Poems. I am taken by poems about Grandmother, Mother, Father, Grandfather, the ancestors and all things Appalachian. I love lyric poems best, poems that give the reader "a moment in time, drenched in emotion, with a moment of knowing something not known before or with some truth known but forgotten."
More: If you live and write in the South or in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and have a book of poetry to sell, contact me. No money is made by me on this site. No fee is charged. My hope is to feature and celebrate your book publication. Of course, my secret hope will be that you will sell lots of books.

In 2008 and 2009, some of the authors featured were Kathryn Stripling Byer, John Stone, Bettie M. Sellers, Janice Townley Moore, Glenda Barrett, Ruth Falkner Grubbs, Patricia Neely-Dorsey and Glenda Council Beall.
Other poets featured were Karen Paul Holmes, Rachel Bronnum, Clarence Lee Newton, Maren O. Mitchell. Also featured were non fiction writer Eleanor Lambert Wilson, novelist William Reynolds and short story writer Ed Southern when their new books were published. I plan to double the posts on my site, so do send me some of your already published poems.

As 2009 goes down into history with its blue moon on Dec. 31st, I am making serious plans for 2010, and I am wishing you the best new year for your writing and for your own personal life. As for myself, announcements of my 2010 hopes and plans will come soon. Stay posted.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

See List of Writers Who Have Writing in Forthcoming in Anthology from the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Posted by Nancy Simpson

Hello Fellow NCWN West Members and Friends. I have been working as the editor on Netwest’s forthcoming anthology for about one year now, with the work arriving in my mailbox from December 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009. Getting a book published is a long process. Sometimes things move along like clockwork, but time stalled due to circumstances beyond our control. Still, I am happy to announce we are making progress and seeing our way clear to publish the anthology, titled Echoes Across the Blue Ridge: Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers Living in and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains. In fact, we have completed the proofreading process. The galley copy is being made at this time. We plan for publication in the new year.

An Introduction to Echoes Across the Blue Ridge has been written for us by Robert Morgan.Other North Carolina authors have endorsed the collection including Lee Smith, Ron Rash, and more comments are forthcoming.

These authors, who live within the Netwest area, were invited to contribute their work and they did so with generosity: Our Program Coordinator Kathryn Stripling Byer, Thomas Rain Crowe, Steven Harvey and Bettie M. Sellers. The anthology is dedicated to the memory of our Appalachian ballad poet Byron Herbert Reece.

Check the list below of other contributors who have work forthcoming in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge:

Ellen Andrews

Richard Argo

Glenda Barrett

Glenda Beall

Jo Carolyn Beebe

Janet Benway

Joan Thiel Blessing

Rachel T. Bronnum

John T. Campbell

Gary Carden

Nancy Sales Cash

James M. Cox

Paul Donovan

Robert Edward Fahey

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer

Debora Kinsland Foerst

Joyce Foster

Karen Gilfillan

Gerri Wolfe Grady

Lana Hendershott

Eugene Hirsch

Sam Hoffer

Karen Paul Holmes

Tom Hooker

Kitty Inman

Carl Iobst

George Ivey

Mary Michelle Brodine Keller

Eileen Lampe

Blanche Ledford

Brenda Kay Ledford

Susan Lefler

StarShield Lortie

John Malone

Gail Maye

Marshall McClung

Jennifer McGaha

Mary Lou McKillip

Dick Michener

Maren O. Mitchell

Janice Townley Moore

Clarence Lee Newton

Arnie Nielson

Nancy Purcell

Betty Jameron Reed

William V. Reynolds

Estelle Rice

Mary Ricketson

Judy Roney

Rosemary Royston

Peg Russell

Linda M. Smith

Susan Snowden

Dorothea Spiegel

Wendy Richard Tanner

Carole Richard Thompson

Shirley Uphouse

J.C. Walkup

Cecily Hamlin Wells

Eleanor Lambert Wilson

Charlotte Wolf

Jane J. Young

Congratulations to Philip Sampson of Young Harris, Georgia

whose photograph was chosen for the cover.

Congratulations to Katja Holmes for her cover and book design

and for formatting the galley manuscript .


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coffee With the Poets at Phillips an Lloyd Bookstore on the square in Hayesville, NC

Poet Dorothea Spiegel was featured and honored with a fond farewell at NC Writers' Network West's Coffee With the Poets on Dec. 9, 2009. She is leaving the area to live with a daughter in Tennessee.

Someone asked her, "How long have you been a member of N C Writers' Network West?"

"Since the beginning." she answered.

It's true that Dorothea Spiegel was the first Georgia representative back during the founding days of the writing program that was established by N.C. W.N. to help the isolated, mountain writers of North Carolina and the north Georgia mountains.

Part of Coffee With the Poets also featured an open mic reading.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Two Poems by Georgia Poet Rachel Bronnum, and two more forthcoiming in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge.

Introduction and Celebration of poet Rachel Bronnum

Rachel Bronnum lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and in Highlands, North Carolina. Her poems have been published in a number of publications. She is a member of North Carolina Writers' Network West. In 2010, She has two poems forthcoming in
Echoes Across the Blue Ridge
Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers
Living in and Inspired by the
Southern Appalachian Mountains.


A lone windchime
hangs on the hemlock branch.
When the mountain breezes blow calm,
her soprano bells make marvelus music.
Storms cause clanks and dank discordance.
Rain and sleet and snow
slice and spackke her once smooth surface
but do not destroy nor do they dim her song.
A survivor, she wafts within her world,
one sole orb,
adrift in the immortal cosmic whole.

byRachell Bronnum, first published in the anthology IN THE GARDEN.

The Pew
Artifact from a tumble down mountain church,
the pew captures me.
I raise my paddle, once, twice, and once again.
Sold to the highest bidder.
It's mine. I own this hard, unyielding piece of wood,
or does it own me?
I feel its secrets as I ease onto the seat.
I channel a suffering great grandmother
who sat here, rigid and righteous,
brave and bound by toil and duty,
praying for strength.
The subsuming past roars in my ears.
No comfort comes From the Blood
Of the Lamb Saved by Grace Born Again.
My neck stiffens.
Time warps, convolutes, congeals.
Heaviness is all.
Stop. It's just a bench,
a catch-all for the hall, so I say.

by Rachel Bronnum first published in Freeing Jonah V

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hoar Frost, Rime in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

I appreciate the gentle way winter has introduced itself this year, with a light snow, and this morning, a lovely hoar frost in rime. Of course, it is not winter. It's fall. There are distractions.
I may not even know the day when winter formally arrives.
I'll take these gentle days as the
annoucement of a new beginning,
a new season, end of a decade so the beginning of a new decade, end of a journey so the arrival of a destiny, a new destination in my life.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Not a Big Snow

"Somewhere, My Love, roses will bloom in snow." --Theme from Dr. Zhivago.

The Month of December in 2009 Offers Two Full Moons

If you missed the full moon on December 2nd, keep your eyes open because December, 2009 offers two full moons.

I’m happy to say I didn’t miss the first one, although I did miss getting a photo of it. It has been cloudy here with rain and then snow. The full moon of December 2 is called The Cold Moon, Frost Moon, Long Night’s Moon. It has other names in different parts of the world.

The next full moon, called “The Blue Moon” will be on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2009.

According to Wikipedia, the term “Blue Moon” traditionally refers to an extra moon in a season. A Blue Moon is a full moon that is not timed to the regular month by patters. Most years have twelve full moons, but in addition to the twelve full lunar cycles, each calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days. The extra days accumulate,so that every two to three years (average 2.71 years) there is an extra full moon called “The Blue Moon.”

It’s not too late to get a great view of the waning moon. On December 16th, a special day in this household, will bring (hopefully) a view of the new moon. And then, seeing the Blue Moon would be a perfect way to end the year 2009 and to begin Year 2010.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Weather Report From Above the Frost Line Dec.1, 2009

I looked out and saw my garden folks waiting on the carport. "Please let us come inside for the winter like we always do," they said.

Good-bye to the flowers. I will look one morning soon and they will be totally gone.

These pictures were taken on
November 30, 2009.

Good-bye to to Cleome. Good-bye Garzinnia.
Good-bye May Night Salvia.

Good-bye New Guinea Impatiens and
and Rhododendron blooming in the fall, its buds set for spring.

Good-bye to Nashturtiums
and Japanese Lanterns with seed pods.

Good-bye to the Knock Out Roses and Camellia. They will be the last to go.

The gardener-- signing out from above the frost line.