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."

Sunday, January 31, 2010


NC Governor Bev Perdue named the new NC Poet Laureate: Cathy Smith Bowers. She will be crowned with laurels in Raleigh at The Capitol on February 10, 2010 and will serve for two years.

Photo credit: The Charlotte Observer at time of the announced of the Governor's appointment.

Cathy Smith Bowers, a native of South Carolina, lives in Tyron, and she teaches in the M.F.A. Writing Program at Queens University in Charlotte and at U.N.C. at Asheville.

"Cathy's powerful poems open new avenues of thought," said Gov. Perdue, "and her poems are a reflection of the love of words and learning. She believes poetry inspires and instructs North Carolinians of all ages."

As poet Laureate, Cathy Smith Bowers follows the tenure of Kathryn Stripling Byer. Much of Bower's poetry career path follows the steps of Kathryn Stripling Byer also in that she has published widely in literary publications such as The Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, Shenandoah, Southern Review and Southern Poetry Review. Bowers first poetry collection The Love that Ended Yesterday in Texas was published at Texas Tech University Press as the winner of their first book competition, as was Kathryn Stripling Byer's first book, The Girl In The Midst Of The Harvest, published at Texas Tech Press in cooperation with the Association Writing Programs Award Series in 1986.

The Love That Ended Yesterday in Texas was republished by Iris Press in 1997. Cathy Smith Bower's second book, Traveling in Time of Danger (1999) and her third, A Book of Minutes (2004) were also published at Iris. Her poetry craft essay "A moment of Intensity" was published in The Poet's Market (2007.) Bower's most recent book publication is The Candle I Hold Up To See You (2009 Iris.)

Kathryn Stripling Byer, who be ending her tenure as NC Poet Laureate, will attend the "crowning" celebration in Raleigh. She has praised Cathy Smith Bowers as "one of the finest poets writing today," saying that "her work fuses narrative with exquisite lyricism, as well as wit and vulnerability."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Deep in the Southern Appalachian Mountains on January 30, 2010

Why would anyone want to live deep in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, on roads with dangerous conditions? In my best observation, this is the coldest January, the January with the most snow, being snowbound, the list of days with "cabin fever", and not the best of health, the worst ever January.

On the phone last night, I told one son it is the most beautiful sight. I do fully believe he would find it breathtaking. I did not tell him if his father and I had experienced this January in our first year here in the sixties, we would have tuned back. There would be no "back to the land" and none of our family history on this mountain, I am certain.

This morning I told a friend that this bitter weather reminds me of the January in the seventies when my father died, my husband left, my oldest son graduated from school and went to college, another son left the following year. The friend said, "Your father died and your husband left the same January?" We've been friends for many years. She did not know this. Yes, I admitted, and I told her, "My life as I knew it ended." That one time has been brutalized with January memories for me to dread. I now cannot even remember when I recovered from it, but I did.

It is different now. I made a new life for myself. I went to college. I became a certified teacher with 26 years as a NC State Board of Education educator. I became a practicing poet, an M.F.A. graduate, an instructor of writing, an author of three books of poetry, became a N.C. Arts Fellow, became a worker for NC Writers' Network and cofounder of NCWN West.

I am a woman who found happiness, with my full sun garden in the middle of a forest, on the northside of the same mountain. This morning when I saw my rhododendron bent to the ground, encased in ice, it troubled me. I know some of the perennials will come back. Some will not make it. All day today as ice breaks branches, I cringe.

Although in a lifetime, this is one of the worst Januarys for me, I will stay here on the mountain.

A Message from the Habitual Writer - Susan Woodring

This is the path at John C. CampbellFolk School where Mrs. Gladdys Young walked.

Thank You, Mrs. Young posted by

Susan Woodring

When I was in high school, I had this crazy teacher who used to ride her bike to school every morning. We were her first class. She came to us with helmet-smooshed hair. Ah, the fresh air. She loved it. She was sixty-something, seemed ancient to us. Once her helmet was off and she'd changed shoes, she would rub the cold out her palms, perch on her little stool, and off and away we went.

This was a humanities class. We studied everything from the druids to the Egyptians to the Renaissance to the Vietnam War. We read Chaucer, Voltaire, Shakespeare, Kafka, and Arthur Miller. We dressed at Canterbury characters and told our tales to a group of 1st graders. We studied art, listened to classical music, and learned the fundamentals of ancient Chinese architecture.

Of course, we were high school kids, so we also did our share of complaining. We hated Kafka, couldn't quit giggling over dung beetle. We had no sympathy for Willy Loman whatsoever. Miss Havisham was beyond pathetic in our view.

And, I'll tell the truth: we laughed at our teacher's helmet hair.

But we loved her. Gladys Young. She passed away while I was in college. My mother called me at the off-campus trailer I was living and read me the obituary. At the time, I was studying to be a teacher myself and was just beginning to realize what teachers like Mrs. Young had given me.

She couldn't get enough learning, and it wasn't just academic pursuits. That woman loved her bike, she loved sunshine and trees and color. In the spring, she headed up to the John C. Campbell Folk School in the mountains and learned how to spin and dye her own yarn. We heard about that trip all year, how excited she was.

I've kept that name, John C. Campbell Folk School, in my mind all these years, always hoping for a chance to go. I would love to learn how to throw pottery or how to knit something really amazing. Spend a week writing. Mostly, I just long to soak up the atmosphere, this place Mrs. Young loved so much, the music, the mountains, a week of being with people just like me: people who want to learn things, who appreciate craft for its own sake.

Finally, this spring, I'm going. I'll be leading a writing workshop, and I'm excited about that, but mostly, I'm just thrilled to visit one of Mrs. Young's favorite places. To visit the school where she was the student. To wander about the campus where she played.

The Habitual Writer
April 4-9, 2010 (Sunday-Friday Session)
Instructor: Susan Woodring
Tuition: $474.00
Inspiration is fleeting, and self-discipline only takes you so far. Creating good work habits is essential to every writer. We will discuss how to create beneficial writing habits, how these habits help free us to create, and how to maintain good habits once established. Participate in exercises designed to inspire, motivate, and guide you in establishing individualized routines and exercises to take home. Writers of all genres and levels are welcome.

1-800.FOLK.SCH (365.5724)
828.837.2775 • (fax) 828.837.8637
Contact us by email

John C. Campbell Folk School
One Folk School Road
Brasstown, NC 28902

Office Hours:
Mon.-Fri. 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST

Craft Shop and History Center Hours:
Mon. - Sat. 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
Sun. 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST

John C. Campbell Folk School is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Read our Privacy Policy.

© 2010 John C. Campbell Folk School

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This full moon will appear larger and brighter than at any other time during 2010. It will be be seen as larger than at any other time since December 2008. Why? Because the full moon will be at perigee, which is its closest point to Earth. The closeness of the moon to the Earth will bring higher tides, so it has been said.

The FULL WOLF MOON, got its name from Native Americans, probably because of the cold January weather, zero temperatures, deep snow and howling wolves. The January Full Wolf Moon is also known as Old Moon and Moon After Yule.

Your chance to see the Full Wolf Moon has come. Clouds may block your view, but go out tonight, tomorrow night too, and take a look.

This amazing photo of the full moon at perigee was taken in December, 2008, by photographer Eric Ingmundson of Sparta, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spend a Week at John C. Campbell Folk School Feb.21-27, 2010

Write what you know. What do we know better than our own stories, our own lives?
writes Glenda Beall below.

Recently, I overheard two little boys sitting on a bench outside a market. “I don’t think Mama and Daddy had video games when they were little,” one said to the other.

Kids wonder about what life was like for parents and grandparents. If your children or your grandchildren were gathered around you waiting to hear about what life was like when you were a child, what would you tell them?

Spend a week at Orchard House on the John C. Campbell Folk Schoolcampus in Brasstown, NC writing the stories of your life.

In 1998, I published a family history chronicling the lives of my grandfather and each of my ten aunts and uncles. They were not famous people. Just simple men and women who lived in the early twentieth century, who endured hardships and triumphs, and who will be forever remembered by future generations because their stories have been recorded in this book.

Since then, I’ve been writing and collecting incidents and stories about my own life. An example is Tar, Tallow and Prayer, which tells how a home remedy saved my baby sister’s life. My Mother’s Reunion is a humorous story of the time we crashed another family’s reunion.

In my writing classes students aren’t expected to be experienced writers.

Besides exploring our lives for stories, we learn to use the five senses to draw the reader into our work. We learn to use strong verbs, to avoid overused adjectives. We help cut out the fat, the extra verbiage, and show how to use historical events to place a story in time. We learn how to entertain and enlighten our audience, to tell true stories using the same components as good fiction.

A former student said this: What was so special about your class is that you created a harmony among strangers that evolved almost immediately into a group connection of respect, joy and genuine warmth and understanding. I believe every one of my classmates is a beautiful and courageous writer. … as you had us read our stories we were able to glimpse and appreciate the depth and the diverse culture of their fascinating lives.

We have openings for Leave a Written Legacy, February 21 – 27, at John C. Campbell Folk School, but registration must be made byFebruary 1.

Anyone living in Clay, Cherokee, or Graham counties in NC or Towns, Union, and Fannin counties in Georgia, receive half price tuition. Call 1-800-365-5724 or click on http://www.folkschool.org/ and register online.

Local number is 828-837-2775.

Contact Glenda Beall, writerlady21@yahoo.com for more information.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Important Info for Practicing Poets

Georgia poet Barbara Groce, student in YOUR POETRY: Journey Into the Interior, taught April 12-17, 2009 at John C. Campbell Folk School

PRACTICING POETS read poetry. They study poetry. A poet never stops seeking to learn more about how poems are made.

PRACTICING POETS seek feedback from others, asking them to read a poem and tell what they think. It might be helpful to ask a husband or wife or sister or brother, but not always. It is most helpful is to get comments from another poet. Poets often participate in a monthly critique group. In a poetry critique group the poet presents copies of a poem, gets a close reading and receives professional, constructive comments. And yes, practicing poets sign up and pay for advanced poetry writing classes, even after they have begun to publish poems. Some enter M.F.A. Writing programs, go to conferences or take weekly classes. Mainly the poet hopes to gain inspiration or hopes to find the path for advancing their poetry writing career.

PRACTICING POETS, not usually at the beginning but eventually, will submit their poems to magazines for publication. Information on how and where to send poems is often discussed in workshops and in writing classes.


For about 15 years, I’ve been scheduling the writing classes for John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. It is part of my responsibility as Resident Writer. J.C.C.F.S. is an 85 year old art and craft school located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. We’ve been limited each year to three poetry classes, but this year, 2010 something amazing will happen. Eight Poetry writing classes will be offered. This is the new information that I am trying to tell all poets. Eight poetry classes. Please help spread the word.

The writing studio allows for only eight students, the perfect number. I’m telling you so that you will know the classes fill quickly.

Students come from all over America. Classes are held for one week. Usually, on Thursday afternoon, the instructor and students present a reading of poems to the others. On Friday a school wide exhibit is held where students show samples of poems they wrote or revised during the week.

All of the poetry instructors for the 2010 classes are nationally known, published, practicing poets with information to help you advance your own poetry writing career.

Here are eight poetry writing classes to be taught in 2010.

YOUR POETRY AND YOUR LIFE WORLD, January 17-22, 2010, taught by Gene Hirsch. ( Sorry if you missed it.) He will teach again in October, 2010.

YOUR POETRY: JOURNEY INTO THE INTERIOR, May 23-28, 2010, will be taught by Nancy Simpson, who has three collections of published poetry. Publication will be discussed and a list of markets will be given.

POETRY WRITING: FROM JOURNALING TO PUBLISHING IN JOURNALS, June 13-19, 2010, will be taught by Eric Nelson, who teaches at Georgia Southern University. He has had three collections of poetry published.

HARNESSING THE POWER OF WORDS, August 15-21, 2010, will be taught by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer. This is a mixed genre class, but note that the instructor is a professional poet with three books of poetry in print.

WHAT’S IN YOUR WRITING FOLDER? August 22 - 27, 2010, will be taught by Nancy Simpson. This is a mixed genre class, but note that the instructor holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry, has taught writing for more than 30 years, and she is the author of three collections of poetry.

ROBERT BURNS and “a” that: WRITING FROM THE HEART, Sept. 5-11, 2010, will be taught by poet Maureen Ryan Griffin, who has “a passion for words” and will “renew your love for language.” This mixed genre class will jump-start your writing project whether essay, fiction or poetry. School wide, Scottish Heritage Week.

PATTERNS OF WORLD POETRY, Sept. 26- Oct. 1, 2010, will be taught by Robin Behn who is Director of the M.F.A. Writing Program at the University of Alabama.

LIVING YOUR POETRY, Oct. 10 - 16, 2010, will be taught by Gene Hirsch. He has taught poetry widely among poets and health care professionals.

Eight Poetry Writing Classes this year! Amazing. But is it a trend? I cannot say yes to that, as much as I would like to see it happen. The writing program, specifically future poetry classes will depend on if students sign up for the classes. Please help spread the word.

Thanks. Meanwhile, Keep writing poems.

--Nancy Simpson

The Poet Tree at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Karen Paul Holmes, standing under the Poet Tree, was a student in YOUR POETRY: Journey Into the Interior, taught April 12-17, 2009 at John C. Campbell Folk School. She has new poems forthcoming in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge: Stories, Essays, and Poems by Writers Living in and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains and in Atlanta Review and Poetry East.

If you want to read the full class descriptions, click here: www.folkschool.org/index.php?section=subjects&subject_id=47

More info: 1 800 FOLK SCH www.folkschool.org

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Take an Afternoon Poetry Class with Bettie M. Sellers


Dr. Bettie Sellers at Institute for Continuing Learning

at Young Harris College

Thursday, March 11 (1 session)

1 – 3 pm

Goolsby 104

Cost - $7


This class will be a study of several of Bettie's more recent poems, each of which has an interesting genesis. Many poems, as well as other writings, come from a moment of circumstance and are, therefore, forever tied to a moment or event. For further reading, copies of Bettie's books are available at The Book Nook in Blairsville. Long out of print, Liza's Monday and Other Poems is once more available.

Dr. Bettie Sellers, retired Goolsby Professor of English at YHC, has written several books of poetry. She was Poet Laureate of Georgiaand has received numerous awards honoring her many contributions to Georgia and the world.

For more information click below and see

clsses offered this term.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leave a Written Legacy, Write your Family Stories will be taught by Glenda Beall at John C. Campbell Folk School Feb. 21-27, 2010.

This writing class is for you if you have wanted to write about your family but have not had the time to do it. This class is for you if you have a story to tell but have not known how to begin.
Maybe you have already started, but your writing folder is full of unorganized papers.

Give yourself a week to focus only on writing. Leave your chores behind. Spend a week studying with Glenda Beall at John C. Campbell Folk School. Glenda Beall will give you direction. Class begins on Sunday, February 21 and ends on Friday evening February 27, 2010.


Recover old memories using family photos and keepsakes. Write stories and personal essays about your unique life experiences for your children and grandchildren, and then fine-tune your work by sharing with classmates in a safe, comfortable atmosphere. Beginners to intermediate writers--join us to get your start or for motivation and ideas to organize your work.

More about the class. How to register. Click here.

Or call 1 800 FOLK SCH, (828) 837 2775

Local Writers may get half price rates. Ask when you call.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Snow on the tree branches, snow on the mountainside, snow down in the valley.

Snow in the southern Appalachian Mountains on January 7, 2010. It's still here on Jan. 8th, in fact, the temperature has been below freezing since January 2nd.

Through my window, a woodpecker goes for the suet.

The new year's first snow:
how lucky to reamin alone
at my hermitage. --Basho