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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, February 20, 2011


Here Above the Frost Line, we are celebrating the poetry of Helen Losse as POET OF THE MONTH in this her birth month.  Your comments are welcome.

A Duplex For Wrens  by Helen Losse
When I wanted a birdhouse,
Daddy built one.  We hung it
from a branch of the maple tree.
A rusted hanger keeps it there,
though it rocks when the wind
blows.  And a dusting of snow
on its lavendered roof glistens—
coldly—in the light of
a haloed moon.   No one occupies
the duplex for wrens.  Despite our
hospitality, they always winter
further south.  The leaves
turn yellow and off they fly,
while fickle birds leave apartments
in disarray.  The remnants
of an abandoned nest jutting
through the northernmost door.
A well-crafted perch—
once painted green—
has faded and fallen to the ground,
landing with the common sticks,
hiding under frost-tipped leaves.
first published in Tacenda and later in my chapbook Paper Snowflakes (Southern Hum Press, 2006, OOP)
Railroad Flowers
by Helen Losse
The plants growing by the railway bank are
five feet in height, prolific in bloom.
A late-afternoon shower freshens each blossom.
The blue sky darkens at dusk, when the sun is
swallowed by the earth, far, far away.  A ’bo hops
a boxcar, springing up from the ballast beneath two
shiny rails.  The Great Evening-Primrose   
perfumes the air, entices a pollinating moth.  
The earth’s silver moon kisses yellow flowers.
Under such softness, the railroad flowers open fully:
An act performed nightly from June to September.
But by morning, the blossoms have closed in their rest,
and lovers of a different persuasion,
who perused the night with radios and listened for
the whistle of a train, greet the dawn with its
waving engineers and have their cameras ready.
first published in Southern Hum and my chapbook Paper Snowflakes (Southern Hum Press, 2006, OOP)
History Lesson by Helen Losse
After the rain
has fallen into the graveyard, I
hear the hidden wings of an owl
in the lonely, country grove.
Fallen leaves—
wet, brown, & curled—    
lie on the hallowed ground
or sit on the tombstones nearby.
Jittery shadows blow—moving
darkly—in the cooling evening
breeze, beneath the indelible slit
of a late October moon.
The once-trapped raindrops are
descending from moving branches
in silver-bullet cascades,
refurbishing foot-shaped puddles—
carelessly left—
next to a freshly opened grave.
And under heavy brush and behind
a picket fence, the loosed water
pounds a black, ’30s sedan in
a  fertile setting for resplendent legend—
concerning Bonnie & Clyde—complete
with an accent of goldenrod, of rust. 
first published in Spillway Review and later in my Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) available from the author or Amazon.com  
Helen Losse is a Winston-Salem poet, author of four collections of poems, including Seriously Dangerous (Main Street Rag, 2011) andBetter With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) and the Poetry Editor for the online literary magazine The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her recent poetry publications and acceptances include The Wild Goose Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Review, Blue Fifth Review, The Pedestal Magazine, ken*again, and Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and twice for a Best of the Net award, one of which was a finalist. 


Susie Swanson said...

These are just wonderful. Gives me goosebumbs reading them. She is so good.

Nancy Simpson said...

Hello Susie, Thanks for your comment. I hope to keep this site open.

I am sure Helen will be happy about your comment on her poems. There will be one more post for this poet of the month, and you might say I saved the best for last. Stay tuned.

DeadMule said...

Susie, Thank you so much.

Glenda Beall said...

I really enjoyed History Lesson. Haunting- lovely.

Anonymous said...

Nancy, As always you have the best photos! Beautiful landscape! I also enjoyed so much Helen Losse's poems. Thanks, Glenda Barrett

DeadMule said...

Thank you, Glenda and Anon.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

Helen is a good storyteller. I enjoyed the story of the wren's apartment, and how they moved out and left it "littered" like human tenants often do.
I thought the "jittery shadows" line was pleasantly spooky.

DeadMule said...

Thank you, Joan.


Tipper said...

I enjoyed them all!

DeadMule said...

and thank you, Tipper.