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."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hello Poets and Writers, From Living Above the Frost Line, in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Friends and Fellow writers,
Happy New Year.
This photo was taken Jan. 2009,
by my hand, through my eyes,
off the deck of my home.

Dear Poet and Writing Friends, You may have been wondering - "Where is she?" or maybe not. You may not give a hoot. I need to know. Here at the end of 2011, I totally lost this blog and the opportunity to communicate with you.  Looks like my site is back this morning. I am shouting with joy, with hope LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE will hold and  continue as we move into 2012. It was a crisis for me. I hope to never have to go through that horror again.  I do not have a clue what took my site down. I do not know how it came back this morning.

If you know me, you know I am intelligent. I can do this. I have a storehouse of information to share with poets and writers. I hope to continue but not sure you have interest in poetry at all. I do not know if you are interested in southern and Appalachian poets and writers - their new books and where you can buy them at their press.  I've featured many southern and Appalachian writers throughout the past three years.  I have a line up for 2012. I have suggestions and an updated list of markets calling for poems now. Are you interested?

Or is there some other reason you visit this site? The links to yet other writing sites? The latest news of writing events in the mountains of western NC and North Georgia?

Sorry to put you on the spot. Are you interested? Comments please.  What are your interests?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two Poems by Nancy Simpson - You can read them on Line- FUTURE CYCLE PRESS

Nancy Simpson ends the year on the up-swing - with ten poems accepted this year. You can read two of the most recent on line - FutureCycle Press. "First Responder" in  AMERICAN SOCIETY - What Poets See 2011. (34) and "Years Later- Still the Old Dream" in Future Cycle Anthology 2011, (27)

click on poems at the bottom of the page

Friday, December 16, 2011


If you looking for a gift book for a woman on your Christmas Shopping list, consider buying Living Above the Frost Line,
New and Selected Poems.Especially if the woman lives in or is fond of the Blue Ridge - Southern Appalachian Mountains. LivingAbove the Frost Line is a 2011 finalists for SIBA - Southern Independent Booksellers Award, nominated for The Weatherford Poetry Award and  Oscar Arnold Poetry Award, reviewed in FutureCycle Press, Independent News, Asheville Citizens Times, Prairie Schooner and in the current issue of Asheville Poetry Review.

(from back cover of Living Above the Frost Line - 
New and Selected Poems)
“NANCY SIMPSON’S POEMS SPEAK WITH A VOICE that knows where it comes from, honoring that place and the web of relationships that exist within it. She can make the world shimmer in a single line. She can break your heart. She can sing. She does what a poet has to do, wake the reader into a fresh vision of reality.” —KATHRYN STRIPLING BYER, North Carolina Poet Laureate Emerita
“HARD-WON, SOMETIMES HARD-BITTEN, the poems of Living Above the Frost Line emerge from the page like daffodils from a snow bank: colorful, hardy and defiant. It is a privilege to be admitted into Nancy Simpson’s intense vision of the world, a pleasure to stand for a while in its light.” —FRED CHAPPELL, North Carolina Poet Laureate Emeritus
“LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE showcases the arc of a life lived richly and rendered in finely made poems of heartbreak—and beauty. Nancy Simpson possesses a wise world view grounded in and informed by the intricacies of place, offering all of us the great haven poetry can be in hands as capable as hers.” —CLAUDIA EMERSON, winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
“REPLETE WITH A QUIET WISDOM, Nancy Simpson’s poems are powerfully focused on the landscape and the people who inhabit this giving, fragile land she cherishes but cannot always protect. The poet wastes nothing as she trains her vision on both the ordinary and the sublime, ‘having learned the leaves of trees, /the language of ants, not much scares her.’ Nancy Simpson shows us how to learn to love and forgive the world in poems that are always wise and generous of heart.” —JUDITH ORTIZ COFER
“IN LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE, Nancy Simpson takes us to the top of a Carolina mountain and gives us a clear lens through which to mark the seasons of a lifetime. These poems reflect the history of a place and the hardy people who know that ‘nothing is certain except death.’ Hardship and grief, yes, but also friendship, humor, compassion, and the electrifying power of imagination. Through image and insight, Simpson’s mountain becomes a sustaining force, and we rejoice in the parallel certainty of rebirth. —JUDITH KITCHEN
Order Nancy Simpson’s  Living Above the Frost Line: New and Selected Poems from 
Carolina Wren Press  120 Morris Street Durham, NC 27701
Bookstores and Schools can order wholesale by phone 
919 560 2738 
or e mail carolinawrenpress@earthlink,net
ISBN 978-0-932112-61-3 Laureate Series (2010) $15.95
Retail $14.35  at CWP.
Or buy from Independent Book Sellers who nominated the book for a SIBA Award.
City Lights Book Store in Sylva, NC (828) 516-9499
Phillips and Lloyds Book Shop (828) 389- 1492
Also available at amazon.com
or order from the author. one book - $15.95 cover price postage free or order through the month of December 2011, two copies for $20.00 post paid. (828) 389-6497
NANCY SIMPSON’s poems have been published widely in journals such as Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Tar River Poetry, The Southern Poetry Review and Kalliope. Her previous books are Across Water and Night Student. In 1991, she received the North Carolina Arts Council Writing Fellowship for Poetry. A longtime member of the North Carolina Writers Network, she co-founded Netwest to serve writers in the nine westernmost counties and Qualla Boundary. contact Nancy Simpson at (828) 389-6497   nance@dnet.net   www.nancysimpson.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hello fellow ECHOES ACROSS THE BLUE RIDGE authors. Our anthology has been widely accepted and reviewed. You may have heard of the newest review by Mary Ickes in Western N.C. Women, but did you know she specifically mentioned your writing. You can read her comments. Click below.  Have you heard any other talk about ECHOES ACROSS THE BLIE RIDGE. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment.  Nancy Simpson, Editor


Mary Ickes said in a note to NCWN West that she did not read anything in the anthology that she did not like. Here is a list of the authors she mentioned in her review:

Steven Harvey, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Bettie Sellers, Gary Carden, Glenda Barrett, Glenda Beall, Ellen Andrews, Mary Michelle Bodine Keller, Estelle Darrow Rice, William V. Reynolds, Kitty Inman, Dick Michener, Charlotte Ross, Mary Lou McKillip, Lana Hendershott, Susan Lefler, John T. Campbell, Jayne Joudon Ferrer, Rachel Bronnum, Rosemary Royston, Maren O. Mitchell, Karen Paul Holmes, Brenda Kay Ledford, Marshall McClung, Richard Argo, Wendy Richard Tanner, StarShield Lortie, Ellen Lampe. Ickes also mentioned Byron Herbert Reece, 1917-1958, to whom the anthology was dedicated.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mary Ickes praises Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, edited by Nancy Simpson, an anthology which features stories, essays and poems by 62 authors who live and write in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Ickes said, "It would make the perfect holiday gift for anyone who loves great writing or who is interested in North Carolina’s culture and history."

NORTH CAROLINA WRITERS'NETWORK getting out the news reported:

Echoes Across the Blue Ridge Reviewed in WNC Women

Echoes Across the Blue RidgeWe just heard a rumor that the December 2011 issue of WNC Womenwill feature an ebullient review of Echoes Across the Blue Ridge: Stories, Essays, and Poems by Writers Living in and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains (Winding Path Publishing, 2010). In a sneak peak, reviewer Mary Ickes said, “In all sincerity, I’ve never read a collection in which I liked every piece. Deciding which authors to include proved frustrating, because I wanted to mention everybody! GO NETWEST!”
From the book’s description:
Echoes Across the Blue Ridge consists of the work of 62 authors: members of North Carolina Writers’ Network West. The volume includes stories and poems reflecting the everyday lives of mountain people, their experiences, their outlook on life, and their overall philosophies. The subjects range from the mundane to hilarious comic sketches. The reader will laugh, cry, and feel the heart and soul of these writers.
Contributors include former North Carolina Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer of Cullowhee; Gary Carden of Sylva; and an introduction by Robert Morgan, among many more.
This collection was edited by Nancy Simpson and received blurbs from acclaimed NC authors Ron Rash and Lee Smith. It would make the perfect holiday gift for anyone who loves great writing or who is interested in North Carolina’s culture and history.
Echoes Across the Blue Ridge is available anywhere books are sold, through the NetWest website, and throughwww.ncwriters.org.
Congratulations to NetWest and all who contributed to this important piece of North Carolina heritage.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Are you shopping for the child on your Christmas List? A child that perhaps lives in Georgia?
Here is the book to consider: THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA written by Susan R. Spain Illustrated by Elizabeth O. Dulemba.  

     It's time, once again, to celebrate THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN GEORGIA! I hope you'll consider purchasing my latest picture book as a gift for your loved ones this year. And if not mine, Sterling Children's Books is working on one for each state. (Click Here to see if the one for your state is available yet.) CLICK HERE to learn more about my Georgia book and download free activities.
     And if you can stop by, I'll be signing copies at several Georgia independent booksellers over the next few weeks:

Scott's Bookstore
Newnan, Georgia
Wednesday, December 7 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Hall's Book Exchange
Gainseville, Georgia
Thursday, December 8 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm
Little Shop of Stories
Decatur, Georgia
Thursday, December 15 from 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Atlanta Symphony Store
Atlanta, Georgia
Friday, December 16 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Give him, on your Christmas shopping list,  a book. Yes. Giving a man a book means caring enough to give something of worth. It's certainly not the same as is giving him a tie, or a coffee mug. Giving a book implies you chose something unique for him. Giving a book says, He's smarta man who reads. Think of the added opportunity to write inside the cover some words of gratitude, something like "Thank you for being you" or "With appreciation." If he cocks his head and lifts his eyes, he probably is thinking:  She knows I'm intelligent. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


SHOPPING LIST if you are looking for a gift for a woman aged 21-50, a woman who can read and loves to read books, a woman who especially loves to read literary poetry of our time, perhaps she writes poems herself. She is a woman who is not narrow minded but rather is one who is curious about humans and their relationships, one seeking a world view, whose concerns are matters of the heart, matters of the spirit.

I highly recommend this book:  Poet Nancy Simpson

Debra Kaufman's literary reputation is well known to readers of poetry. She is also the author of Family of Strangers, Still Life Burning, Moon Mirror Whisky Wind and A Certain Light. Individual poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, Greensboro Poetry Review, Pembrok, Carolina Quarterly and in anthologies such as 100 YEARS OF NC POETRY and Literary Trails of NC. Her short and full-length plays have been performed throughout North Carolina, her adopted home.

To buy THE NEXT MOMENT, $13.95 add $2.00 postage

CONTACT Publisher:

Want to read poems from this collection by the author 
Debra Kaufman? 


Good Girls

Good girls always fall for bad boys.
We’re trained in the fine arts
of downcast eyes and demure smiles,
to caress the crisp pages of the Bible.

Trained in the fine arts
of be ye kind and don’t make waves,
I caress the crisp pages of the Bible,
Daddy’s rabbit pelts and pheasant breasts

(be ye kind and don’t make waves?).
I earn gold stars and pinch my sister.
Daddy’s rabbit pelts and pheasant breasts
teach me the secret glee of bad.

I earn gold stars and pinch my sister,
desire the scent of Brut and smoke, want
to be taught the secret glee of bad
by a boy whose eyes could size me up.

Desiring the scent of Brut and smoke,
the swagger, oh, of his lean body, I want
the boy whose eyes size me up,
his rough hands, wild hair, tight jeans.

Oh, the swagger of his lean body!
Engine thrumming, music blaring,
rough hands, wild hair, tight jeans.
I’ll take you to see Orion straddle the sky.

Engine thrumming, music blaring,
he takes me where Orion straddles the sky.
I say, I see the good in you. He laughs:
Good girls always fall for bad boys.

The Rushing Way I Went

As if each day were the same river
with variations—
one day tires, shingles,
a doll bobbing past,
the next, a heron, hunched
and studious on the bank.
I’d wake up, put in (yes,
I had then delusions of steering),
and set in motion this sequence:
make coffee, feed the kids,
get them to school on time,
on to my job, the turnpike commute,
yada yada yada.
Evenings, upwind, rewind.
Where were you?
In those short remaining hours,
your inevitable flights
took away the best parts of us.
All so long ago.
Now I wash dishes
to the tunes of smoky angels
and doves calling from the deep
down of their soft, gray breasts.

On Learning His Diagnosis 2

After September rains flies
cluster on the porch
like one still breath.

Tiny opportunists,
they zoom inside
in crushable husks,
settle on fresh-picked blackberries,
buzz lamps and windows.

I vacuum up their no-account lives
as they cling to screens
in the last light they’ll ever know.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Bob Grove will have a dramatic reading of Dickens' Christmas Carol at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, 2011, at the Folk School in Brasstown, NC. It will be followed by an 8:00 performance of the Folk School Morris, garland, and rapper sword dance teams. Free and open to the public.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Malaika King Albrecht is the Featured Poet of the month of Novemer, 2011. I first met Malaika in a NCWN Conferene  Master Class, "Line Dancing" taught by Kathryn Stripling Byer. Malaika is a serious young poet with publications in magazines and anthologies to her credit. She is the author of a chapbook poetry collecitons and two recent full length collections. Congratulations to Maliaka King Alrecht in this her birth month. She one of our most  shining stars out of North Carolina at this time.

If you like these poems, let me know and I will pass the word on to our poet of the month, or you can leave a comment for her yourself.
Thank you for reading. --Nancy Simpson

 3 poems by Malaika King Albrecht  upcoming from Press 53 book

How to Walk Right Through a Woman

I can’t remember the curse that made me
invisible. I only know that one day
he held my hand and then another,

my hand slipped through his like sand.
I stayed in the room, an empty vase
in the dark and not even moonlight could find me.

He may have sensed my presence
as he stepped around me and around me
packing his books, clothes, toothbrush.

By morning he could walk right through
as if I were an open window,
a door, the immaterial air.

 Previously Published in Bay Leaves

 On the Shore at Holden Beach 


High tide reveals
in every beginning,
an end.

The sea asks, How strong
will you stand? Rises and falls
all around you.

No matter where
we die, we’re buried
at sea.

Once my daughter nearly drowned
blue lips and
the sound of waves
inside her chest.
Cut adrift,
we clung to a hospital bed
for three days until she
thrashed ashore-
said I want to go home.


She finds a whole
sand dollar in the surf,
places it in my palm. Don’t
lose it, mommy. Squeeze tight.

I say No, it will break.

How to teach her
that a fist
is how life catches us
in the jar of our own desire
to hold, to count
what we think is ours.
I show her, Hold your hands
with the sand dollar
between your palms.

Like we’re praying, she says
walking gently back to shore.

published in Asheville Poetry Review

The Dusting

Every body wants. The tongue licks
that last hint of sugar from lips.

Fingers rub satin clean from the blanket’s edge.
The soles of our feet sink into earth until the air

carries the odor of crushed grass.
Everyone wants more. The eyes

of the dying are wide open. The mouths
of the dying are wide open. The nostrils. The ears.

The hearts incessant: More. More.
Listen. A dark song folds the night clouds

into a clap of thunder. I will die.
There will be nothing

left but a wisp of smoke rising
from my open mouth like a Satin moth

wheeling towards the slow turning-
a kiss of white wing dust on my lips.

 Previously published in The Pedestal

Malaika King Ablrecht's newest book Spill was also published by Main Street Rag. Her poems have been published in many literary magazines and anthologies and have recently won awards at the North Carolina Poetry Council, Salem College and Press 53. She’s the founding editor of Redheaded Stepchild, an online magazine that only accepts poems that have been rejected elsewhere. She lives in Pinehurst, N.C. with her family and is a therapeutic riding instructor.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

COMING SOON - SUNRISE FROM BLUE THUNDER - Pirene’s Fountain Japan Anthology

Poems forthcoming from Nancy Simpson, Maren O. Mitchell, Karen Paul Holmes, 
and Janice Townley Moore. Information will be made available as soon as the book is in print.

Edior: Ami Kaye
Katherine Herchler
Book Cover by Tracy McQueen

Tuesday, November 22, 2011



It was a huge success. That's what I heard. The NC Writers Network Fall Conference in Asheville last weekend had more writers attending than ever before. I met people from as far away as Wilmington and Durham, yet I saw only one of my old NCWN  friends from the east. That, I'm sorry to say only reinforced my belief which is: "They do not look west."   NCWN certainly did all in their power to "educate" and to point out the misconception that many have of the mountain people. I counted 200 seats filled with listeners who heard truth personified when Silas House spoke. (photo)

I'll always remember this NCWN conference as the best opportunity I've been given in years as a poet and instructor to "pass it on." My poetry writing workshop was well attended. I am certain that some poems written in my workshop will be published and will be read  by some of you readers of literature in the future.  I wish I had some of those poems to post for proof right now, proof that I was there and it did happen. I wish I had one good photo, proof it did occur. At this point, it seems more like I dreamed it all.

Want to read article by Jon Elliton from MOUNTAIN XPRESS? click


Friday, November 18, 2011



Saturday, November 19, 5:00-6:00 pm
The DoubleTree Hotel Asheville-Biltmore, 115 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville
The North Carolina Writers' Network 2011 Fall Conference will present the following faculty readings: Anthony AbbottEllyn BacheDanny BernsteinStacy Hope JonesVicki LaneRob NeufeldHeather NewtonScott OwensRandy RussellNancy Simpson, and Katherine Soniat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE celebrates Malaika King Albrecht as Poet of The Month in this her birth month. 

Malaika King Albrecht’s chapbook Lessons in Forgetting was published by Main Street Rag and was a finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received honorable mention in the Brockman Campbell Award. Her newest book Spill was also published by Main Street Rag. 

Her poems have been published in many literary magazines and anthologies and have recently won awards at the North Carolina Poetry Council, Salem College and Press 53. 
She lives in Pinehurst, N.C. with her family and is a therapeutic riding instructor.

3 poems from Lessons in Forgetting
Published in Fieralingue
Book can be ordered here 

My Father Teaching my Eldest Daughter

Fill the basin with about three inches

of warm water and add a dash of baby oil.

Begin with her eyes. With a cotton ball,

start at the inside corner of one eye

and wipe outward. Do this to both eyes,
and then gently wash the rest of her face.

Make sure to get behind her ears,
drool and spit-up tend to collect back there.

He stops talking. My daughter’s hands caress
my mother’s forehead, which relaxes.

Mom opens her eyes and looks at them.
Her wet face beautiful in my daughter’s hands.

The Riddle Song 

Grocery bags in my arms,

I hip the front door open

and hear my father singing

to my mother,

I gave my love a cherry

that had no stone.

He stretches out her right leg

and then slowly rotates it in circles.

She hasn’t walked in three years
or gotten out of bed in two.
I gave my love a baby
with no crying.
Her legs resist, the muscles
tight as fists. He massages
the leg nearly straight, moves
to the next one still singing.
A baby when it's sleeping
it's not crying.
The story of how I love you
it has no end.

Of course I’m crying
in the kitchen doorway.
I can’t see her eyes from here,
but I’m hoping that their open
that she’s awake
looking directly into his eyes.
He moves to her left arm,
tucked beside her body
like a broken wing,
and gently spreads it out.

published in Wild Goose Review

How to Stay Afloat 

This morning, he’s gone when we wake up.
Amani says, Where’s Pop Pop?
Did he go to get biscuits?
I walk outside, and his car’s there,
and in the driveway,
the empty canoe stand.
He’s been threatening
to lug that old dugout canoe
into Cat Point Creek and paddle
to the small island in Menokin Bay.

On the pier I stand in the morning fog
and cold drizzle and scan the water
for movement. Nothing.
Then I hear him whistling a song.
I step to the edge of the dock
and see him. Floating with the outgoing tide
towards home, he’s kneeling
in the canoe, bailing with a kitchen pot.
On all sides, water breaches
the canoe gunnels. He sees me
and yells, See. She still floats.

published in Lessons in Forgetting Book