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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, January 30, 2010

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

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