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."

Thursday, March 31, 2011


The Spring Term General Meeting and Course Previews will be held on Saturday, April 2, at  10:30 am in the Wilson Lecture Hall on the campus of Young Harris College. If you plan to take Nancy Simpson’s class, which is a four week POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP, be there Saturday morning to sign up or turn in your application. Fee $13.00. Limit 10 students. Meet weekly for four weeks beginning MAY 9TH.  Meeting on  MONDAY, 1:00 - 3:00.   Course description below. (Institute of Continuing Learning)

The focus will be on your poems. If you are 
a practicing poet and want to share your writing 
with other poets and get constructive comments, 
you will fit right in. It is only a four week class but in setting aside four weeks for writing, there is a genuine opportunity for you to advance your poetry.

This class follows the workshop pattern that is found at universities throughout the country. Beginning the first meeting, and each week you will bring copies of one of your poems to be read, share, and discuss.  There will be instruction as we discuss your writing but no lecture. At the last meeting, the  publication process will be discussed, and a list of markets will be given.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

POET OF THE MONTH Jayne Jaudon Ferrer (March 2011)

S.C. Poet Jayne Jaudon Ferrer and N.C. Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers ( photo taken) at the 19th Annual NCWN West Picnic held on the grounds of Western Carolina University, Sept 5, 2010.

Jayne is the creator and host of  YOUR DAILY POEM. She is dedicated to sharing poetry with the world, and especially with young people, an ambitious goal that is working well. See link to YOUR DAILY POEM below. Join free and you will receive a poem each day, some by major poets and some from poets just now beginning to practice the art and craft of writing poetry.

When Nancy Simpson  asked Jayne Jaudon Ferrer for a copy of her favorite poem from among her many published poems, she sent this one, and wrote: 

"How about one long poem instead of two shorter ones? One of my very favorite poems is "Almanac," from A Mother of Sons. It incorporates all the best memories I have of my sons into a sort of 'poetic calendar.' "
Almanac  by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer

It is summer.
I know from wild, primal whoops that
in the afternoon stillness.
From firm-fleshed rumps
like peaches in the breeze
as one, two, three!, they
in front yard sprinklers and backyard pools.
I know from sweat-damp foreheads
and blackberry-moist chins,
chubby hands
around pickle jars blinking
in the cabernet softness.

It is fall.
I know from dancing eyes and
cinnamon cheeks that
over smiling wisps of cocoa.
From cowboy boots
through restless crimson and topaz leaves
like tiny torpedoes
into a school of skittish guppies.
I know from pumpkins,
their smooth flesh
and jagged where virgin fingers
sought to create ghouls
from a simple gourd.

It is winter.
I know from giddy whispers
in the halls,
carillon giggles that rival cherished carols
in their sweet, simple melodies of joy.
From fingertips frosted
pink as a newborn kitten’s nose,
their woolly red cocoons
flung aside
in pursuit of the perfect snowball.
I know from
in the final chill before dawn ascends,
a prelude to softly rooting heads and
feebly flailing limbs in search of
warmth and safe haven
for a few moments more.

It is spring.
I know from
sweaters slung
around slim denim hips,
the sole concession made
to still-brisk mornings.
From lace—Queen Anne’s—
with just-plucked stems of milkweed and Lazy Susans
presented in a pride-filled fist.
I know from bunnies,
chocolate ones and
plush ones and
terrified ones
clutched in smudged, impetuous arms
I hope will always make room
for me.

From A Mother of Sons (Loyola Press, 2004)

(Her books are available at any bookstore. If you do not find the book you want on the bookshelf,

the bookstore will be happy to order you ca copy. Also, books are available on Amazon.Com.)

Jayne speaks and teaches writing through the country. Check her site below to learn where she will be teaching in the future. Photo below taken at John C. Campbell Folk School (2010) She is scheduled 
to each writing again at JCCFS in 2012.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Enid Schomer, author of four poetry collections, two chapbooks, and also an author of fiction, will read at 7:00 p.m. Young Harris College, Young Harris, Georgia on March 24th in Wilson Lecture Hall.


Saturday, March 19, 2011


The Full Worm Moon got it’s name from native American tribes long ago when  they noticed earthworms and saw flocks of robins in the fields eating them. This signaled the approach of spring. 

The Full Worm Moon of 2011, also being called a supermoon,  will reach fullness tonight on March 19th. At this time earth and the moon nudges closer to each other and will be viewed as the biggest full moon in nineteen years. This moon at Perigee will appear 14 percent larger to the people of earth than it has since 1992.  With the right atmospheric conditions, the Full Worm Moon of 2011 might also appear brighter.
There is much talk at this time in the scientific community.  Some say that the last time the moon passed this close to Earth was on January 10, 2005 around the time of the Indonesian earthquake. Hurricane Katrina was also associated with a large, full moon. Some are saying that this Full Worm Moon of 2011  is what caused the Earthquake and Tsunami this month on March 11th in Japan.  Most scientists say that is not true. 
The moon controls the tides of earth, yes.  I’m not a scientists, but rather a poet who sees the moon as the powerful, stabalizing and helpful force that it is. If this were not true, we would have chaos nightly. 
When you look up at the Full Worm Moon tonight, remember that no moon will appear this close again until November 14, 2016. It might be the brightest moon you have ever seen. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who is your favorite Irish Poet? With a best loved poem by Seamus Heaney

It's Saint Partick's Day but that is not why I'm asking the question - "Who is your favorite Irish poet?" The Irish stand tall when it comes to poetry. The best writers in the English Language have been Irish, so it is said.  While working on my MFA I revered William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939. It was said by many that he was the greatest. I read  and studied his work and wrote about him in my degree year essay. My essay was "The Approach of Death in the Late Poems of William Butler Yeats,  __________ and  ___________.

Later I saw Seamus Heaney, born 1939, still living.  I heard him read his poems at Emory in Atlanta, and I gave my allegiance to him as "the best."  I like Evan Boland, 1944, still living. I met her once and rode to a North Carolina writing conference in the same car with her. I have two of her books and still read them. Paul Muldoon, 1951, still living is a favorite of many.  Who is your favorite Irish poet?

Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney
I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying--
He had always taken funerals in his stride--
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were "sorry for my trouble,"
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Wishing you love, peace, joy and hope and a basket full of good luck

ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE - two classes taught by Karen Paul Holmes

MARCH  20 and 27 - 2011  Karen Holmes  
(Sunday afternoons)
Engage Your Audience: Techniques for Reading Your Work in Public
Sharing your work with an audience enhances the joy of writing. But you’re not alone if you get the jitters or you feel you don’t come across well. Becoming a good reader is all about practicing and gaining confidence. Plus, there are a few tricks you can learn to help you sound like a pro! 

In this class, you’ll practice enunciation, projection, timing, proper body language and using a microphone. In the first class, you’ll receive a gentle critique using a video camera (if you’re comfortable with this), and you’ll learn tips to help you improve. Then you’ll have time to practice on your own before returning for the second class, where we will polish your technique further and discuss how to choose and order your works for a program that reaches audiences in the best way. Open to writers of any genre.

About the teacher: Karen Paul Holmes, a published poet and business writer, enjoys reading her work in public and receives lots of good feedback from her audiences. Her public speaking experience includes presenting workshops at international business conferences. 

581 Chatuge Lane
Hayesville, NC 28904

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I first met Jayne Jaudon Ferrer when she came to
John C Campbell Folk School to read in the series:
Poets and Writers Reading Poems and Stories which
is cosponsored by the folk school and North Carolina
Writers Network West.  It was not long afterward that
Netwest asked me to edit a new anthology and the call for
stories, essays and poems went out.
(Photo taken at John C. Campbell Folk School when Jayne came to read her poems. Left to right - Natalie Grant, Nancy Simpson, Janice Townley Moore, Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, Glenda Beall)

Jayne sent some poems. My letter to her asking for “Street Scene” probably crossed  with her submission in the mail. I remember getting a  letter from her saying we could reprint “Street Scene” but she could not imagine why I would want that one.

I assured her I wanted to reprint “Street Scene."  You will only understand how greatly I wanted that poem to be in the anthology if you read the anthology and if you then read the short story  that follows “Street Scene,” which is “The Spirit Tree,” an exceptional and  haunting story written by Susan Lefler. Pull out your copy and read them.

Street Scene

by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer

I think, at first, she is laughing.
No, drunk. Or high, or crazy, perhaps.
She circles on the broken sidewalk,
fumbling with her bags, stumbling from the weight.
At the red light, I watch, in judgment.
Low life. Trash. Delusional loser.
And then I see her tears, her face—
a wretched bas relief of anguish,
and my heart goes soft with new perspective.
In an instant I know this is a woman abandoned.
Her self-esteem shattered, her self-control consumed,
she is here with her every possession on display,
dumped like discarded ballast.
She staggers, lost, weeping north, and then west.
South; again, west.
I am staggered as well.
Could my life be so succinctly shoved
into a trio of bags?
Could my place in the world be so suddenly slashed
to a slice of sidewalk?
I decide, at last, to console her.
But when I circle the block,
she is gone.

Previously published in SHE OF THE RIB
Woman Unwrapped, CRM Press, Reprinted

Friday, March 11, 2011


A note to authors who contributed their writing to ECHOES ACROSS THE BLUE RIDGE  from your editor, Nancy Simpson
ECHOES ACROSS THE BLUE RIDGE, Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers Living in and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains is almost one year old.  Thanks to Glenda Beall and her market team, the first printing quickly sold out.  The anthology was reviewed by Scott Owens and Helen Losse. It is now in its second printing and still selling. 
Today the anthology will be presented to members of the Appalachian Studies Association meeting at the University of Eastern Kentucky. Rosemary Royston, NCWN West Program Coordinator, a graduate of the Spalding University MFA Writing Program, was invited to read her scholarly essay, “Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, Echoes of Emerson.”  
I’ve had the good fortune to read a copy of Royston’s essay. I must tell you, Rosemary Royston celebrates poetry in the anthology, focuses on four specific poets, and compares specific poems to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay published in 1846,  “Transcendentalism.” 
Two poems by Glenda Barrett are celebrated and discussed: “Echoes” which inspired the anthology title, and “When the Sap Rises.”  Eileen Lampe’s poem “Dancer” is said to be “written in the vein of Dylan Thomas.” “I Hear the River Call My Name”  by Mary Ricketson and “ Progress” by Brenda Kay Ledford are celebrated and favorably discussed in Royston’s essay. 
Fellow authors, today around four o’clock, if your ears begin to burn, it may be because scholars are talking about our anthology. Get your copy out and read along.
Rosemary Royston lives in northeast Georgia. Her poetry has been published in The Comstock Review, Main Street Rag, Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine, Public Republic, and Dark Sky Magazine. Her chapbook was a finalist in the 2009 Jessie Bryce Niles chapbook contest, and she was the 2004 recipient of first and third place in poetry, Porter Fleming Literary Awards. Her poem-- Igneous or "Of Fire" won the 2010 Literal Latte Food Verse Contest. Rosemary Royston holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University.  She is Vice President for Planning and Assessment and Chief of Staff at Young Harris College. She teaches creative writing at Institute for Continuing Learning and  will teach in 2011  at John C. Campbell Folk School and in the Writing Program at YHC.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Celebrating Poet of the Month - Jayne Jaudon Ferrer

When I met Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, I found a practicing poet, a multi-faceted poet. She is one of the few writers I know who make a living writing. She is a practicing poet, yet she saves time to pass poetry on to the next generation. This is one reason she was chosen as POET OF THE MONTH. Having taught in the public school system for many years, I
remember golden moments when a visiting poet would come and the students would sit up and open their ears.

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer has a passion for sharing poetry with students and has visited middle schools and high schools all over America, reading to them, sharing her poems, listening to their poems.

This poem, "And So You Go" is one poem she has often shared with students.  It's the poem that a number of mothers have written to her about, telling the author that they read this poem to their sons at their graduation celebration.

And So You Go  by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer

And so you go
out there, to life,
eager to leave the nest,
impatient to spread your wings.
In your face
there is such promise.
In your laugh, such nonchalance.
So much has changed,
yet there are moments—
       subliminal blips—
when I see still the toddler who,
       splayed in my lap or
            head snug against mine,
drank in one story after another,
whispered secrets in the dark,
spilled out kisses and laughs like a beneficent king.
There are moments
       when a pleased expression,
random outburst,
furrowed brow,
brings back a cherished glimpse
of that little boy lost.
In those moments,
it is hardest to say
But I must,
and  I can,
and I do—
then watch with pride and pain
through tears and years
of love.
And so you go.

from A Mother of Sons (Loyola Press 2004)

"It's so much fun to  help young people discover that poetry is a marvelous way to communicate -- even with their parents," said Jayne Jaudon Ferrer recently.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TODAY IS International Woman's Day. Think of it, for 100 years humans have been celebrating women. Some have been celebrating women longer.

Today, Celebrate International Woman's Day
March 8,  2011, With a poem by Carl Sandberg.

Photos by young Atlanta photographer Ail Rutherford were taken near Chatuge Dam, Hayesville, NC.

Women Washing Their Hair by Carl Sandburg
THEY have painted and sung
the women washing their hair,
and the plaits and strands in the sun,
and the golden combs
and the combs of elephant tusks
and the combs of buffalo horn and hoof.

The sun has been good to women,
drying their heads of hair
as they stooped and shook their shoulders
and framed their faces with copper
and framed their eyes with dusk or chestnut.

The rain has been good to women.
If the rain should forget,
if the rain left off for a year—
the heads of women would wither,
the copper, the dusk and chestnuts, go.

They have painted and sung
the women washing their hair—
reckon the sun and rain in, too.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Two Poems by NANCY SIMPSON from Living Above the Frost Line

Water On the Highway
Water on the pavement moves before me,
Witch Water, I say, as though some sorceress waits
snapping her crooked fingers to make it disappear.
It is real I tell you. It evaporates,
or seems to, and it is always there.
Last night a friend talked about going home,
the roadmap she followed, the bridge she had to cross.
As I listened, I studied her words on paper
describing a house with stained glass windows,
a wicker chair, her father’s face.  I want to believe
poets who say this is the way home, who go and come
traveling lines as concrete and safe as any interstate.
The sun is hot today and my map is marked, open.
I drive home, knowing as I go,
I will have to cross water to get there.

Previously published in The Georgia Review
Reprinted in Living Above the Frost Line
New and Selected Poems, the first book by 
Carolina Wren in their laureate series.

We ought to be thankful it grows wild
on road banks, sometimes blond and curled.
It holds earth together and still,
we hear Earth is falling.
Sink holes in the south swallow cars.
We do not doubt, but can we help wonder
what happens when the bottom drops?
Maybe clumps fall with the Jeep
and the Porsche, forming the shoreline
of a lake in some post suburb.
Grass has a right to be cherished,
Crowning Glory, clipped to perfection.
No matter where we sleep we live
with threat hanging over our lawns.
Who says we need more weapons?
We want to know what will happen to grass,
grass everywhere, amber savannahs,
sacred as the hair on our heads.

Previously published in Southern Poetry Review,
reprinted in SPR 50th Anniversary Anthology
Don't Leave Hungry and reprinted in
Living Above the Frost Line, New and Selected Poems.

Do you want to order a copy of Living Above the Frost Line?
Click below.


Friday, March 4, 2011


My daughter Lynn told me to march forth on March 4th. Go somewhere I had not been before and take a picture. Lynn had recently heard Jane Goodall speak and also had a moment to talk with Jane Goodall about what we all might do. That talk between the two women resulted in "March forth on March 4th"

I went to Mission Dam on the Hiawassee River in Clay County, North Carolina, a place I had never been before.  In the almost fifty years I've lived in the area,  I had often passed roads saying Mission - Dam and thought perhaps there had once been an Indian mission in Clay County years ago. I have not yet learned about a mission, but I did find the dam and Duke Energy Hydro Station.

There is a road crossing the dam with a warning sign. It would be unsafe to loiter in the area.
Also, there are "You will be arrested" signs.

Official photo, Duke Power

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Here above the frost line, we are celebrating Jayne Jaudon Ferrer as Poet of the month in this her birth month.

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, of Greenville, SC  is an author, poet and speaker specializing in women and family matters, poetry appreciation, and communication skills. She has been employed in the writing and editing industry since 1989. She is the author of four inspirational gift books for women published by Pocket Books and Loyola Press. 

Existence 101

Here’s what I think:
God put us here to do more than take up space
and mow grass.
We are here to contribute something.
Teachers, doctors, scientists, artists--all shoo-ins.
Pro ballplayers, fashion designers--on shaky ground.
Most of us fall somewhere in between.
Yesterday, for example, I made my family’s favorite dessert,
smiled at a solemn old man,
and let three strangers go ahead of me in the turn lane.
Today, however, I fear I owe the universe a sizable debt
for the peace, love, and joy my black mood
sucked straight out of the ozone.
So be it.
We are not perfect, and there is no grade.
There is only opportunity.
Carpe carefully.

Copyright 2006 by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer

Hardcover - ISBN #1-933341-05-x
Available at bookstores everywhere 
(If it's not in stock, please ask them to order it.)
Or order online:  http://www.amazon.com/Jayne-Jaudon-Ferrer/e/B000AQ0COS

She of the Rib: Women Unwrapped

Her latest book: an exploration of women's roles and relationships