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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, May 29, 2011


One year ago, my heart slowed. I could barely walk room to room in my own home. After the resynchronization of my heart pump, one year later, I found myself out and about, wanting to walk.

This was my first walk, although if I recall correctly, I sat most of the time in a car and was driven to Lake Chatuge 
and to the banks of The Hiwassee River.

The year 2011 will go down as the year I fell in love with that river - the Hiwassee River. I walked along its banks in a number of places. Some of these riverbanks, I had walked on before.  Others I've only just discovered within the last few months. This is the year I connected the dots and realized that these special places where I walked were all the same waters belonging to  the Hiwassee. This is the year my heart beat with new joy. Walking along the banks of the Hiwassee River, I became well again. 

Walking with Jeremy.

Deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, there is a river named Hiwassee. The Hiwassee River has its headwaters on the north slope of Rocky Mountain in Towns County in Georgia. It skirts the town of Hiawassee in Georgia. The river flows northward into Clay County, North Carolina into Lake Chatuge,.  

Lake Chatuge is a long-time favorite place of my entire family. We have walked there, swam there, picnicked, attended weddings there. I have gone there many nights with family members during past years to see the moon reach fullness.

Lake Chatuge  is a control dam and a hydroelectric dam on the Hiwassee River owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority.  They built the damn in the early 1940s. The dam impounds this 7,000 acre lake that shores on the North Carolina - Georgia state lines.

Memory came back to me of a special boat trip in 2005 with my Simpson cousin Kathleen Larsen and her family, with my son Tim, his wife and children and with my sister Dorothy and with our dear Aunt Mozelle. On that day we navigated all of
Lake Chatuge on the N. C. side and all of the Hiwassee River to the far side of the town Hiawassee on the Georgia side.
Lake Chatuge as viewed from Ramey Mountain in Georgia.

Lake Chatuge as viewed from the top of Cherry Mountain in Hayesville, NC.

The Hiawassee River flows from Chatuge Dam, into the town of Hayesville, (where I live) across Clay County  (the county where I live) and then flows into Cherokee County through the town of Murphy, NC, near the home of poet Mary Ricketson, author of I Hear The River Call My Name ( Finishing Line Press.) The Hiwassee River flows westward into Tennessee, and into the great Tennessee River a few miles west of State Highway 58 in Meigs County Tennessee.

Photo above taken on Hiwassee River at the point where it leaves Lake Chatuge at Chatuge Dam.

Photo taken of Hiwassee River as it  moves toward the town of Hayesville in Clay County, NC.

The Hiwassee River has been known by various names and spellings, including Eufasee, Eufassee, Euphasee, Heia Wassea, Highwassee, and Quannessee. Some Cherokee scholars believe that the name came from the Cherokee word "Ayuhwasi", which means a meadow or savanna.
The Hiawassee River today passes through Clay County, NC, passes near downtown Hayesville at the site of the ruins of Spike Buck Mound and what remains as a “historical site” of  the Indian town named Quanasee.

These photos were taken as I walked with Tim along the banks of the Hiwassee River as it flows past what
remains of the Indian Town of Quanasee (in site of present day Hayesville.)

Photos taken at the historical site of Spike Buck Mound,
in sight of present day Hayesville, NC,

Spike Buck Mound at what was once Quanasee.

Lynn planned a March Forth on March 4th program.  I know she was trying to encourage me to keep walking, but the challenge for me was that I had to go someplace I had never been before. A friend told me about Mission Dam in Clay County.  We went there for a walk.

The Hiwassee River as it flowed along beside the river road was a magnificent sight to see. That is
the very day I  began to connect the dots. I understood that I had been walking all these months beside the same river.  From that day forward, I've had to admit, I am in love with with this river - the Hiwassee River.

 Our walk came to a quick end  by KEEP OUT signs posted for our safety by Duke Power Company. 

History Also says - The Hiwassee River and its tributaries were part of the homeland of the Cherokee in the early 18th century. A town known as "Hiwassee" (Ayuhwasi) was located near the mouth of Peachtree Creek near Murphy, NC. The Valley River contained many Cherokee towns, sometimes collectively called the "Valley Towns", from what is now Andrews, NC, near the headwaters of Valley River to its mouth at Murphy. The Cherokee town known as Great Hiawassee (Ayuhwasi Egwahi) was located in today's Polk County, Tennessee, where the Hiwassee River emerges from the mountains.
The Hiawassee River system has history in Hydrography also, being dammed by the Tennssse Valley Authority (TVA) in three locations, all three in Western North Carolina: The river is dammed by the  Tennessee Valley Authority  (TVA) all in western North Carolina:  Chatuge Dam in Clay County, Hiwassee Dam in Cherokee County, and Apalachia Dam, in far Western North Carolina near the Tennessee State Line.  Water is diverted from the stream bed at Apalachia Dam and sent through a pipeline which is tunneled through the mountains for eight miles (13 km), then gravity-fed through the Apalachia Powerhouse to generate electricity. The stretch of the river that flows between Apalachia Dam and Apalachia Powerhouse features reduced flow and is shadowed by the John Muir Trail in Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest.  

This photo was taken on one of my spring walks, Easter Sunday 2011 while walking at Hamilton Gardens that slopes on the hillside shore of Lake Chatuge near Hiawassee, Georgia.

Walking with Tim at Lake Chatuge on the Hayesville, NC side
at Chatuge Dam, on Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Hello to You Lovers of Poetry. This is the fourth post in celebration of the poems of Susan Laughter Meyers who was named POET OF THE  MONTH OF MAY 2011. Here are three more of her poems.

I am certain you will enjoy these as well as her other poems reprinted on this site during May, in this her birth month.

Your encouraging words for poetry and your comments for Susan Laughter Myers about her poems are welcome. --Nancy Simpson

Susan writes: "This is a love poem for my husband Blue, who grew up on a farm and every year plants a vegetable garden big enough for the whole neighborhood."

The Wheelbarrower
He winds down the gravel drive, 
pushing a load of mulch, 
a smaller and smaller blue shirt 
threading through the pines. 
I can barely see him, yet my eye
tends toward him like a stem to sun— 
a study of straw hat and suspenders,
his spotted dog nosing behind. Now
he’s a tiny figure in his garden. 
Beyond the sweet gums south of the beans 
he dumps the mulch and rakes it level. 
I know the work he does. What I see 
is a man bent over a handle, rocking 
in rhythm, drawing it to his chest 
as if saying goodbye to it one more time, 
then casting it at arm’s length 
so he can say it over and over, 
until it needs no more saying. 
He pulls the wheelbarrow back up the drive. 
A yellow butterfly flits about his shoulders. 
He keeps his head low 
and passes close, his eyes cast down 
as if daily work were prayer, 
dirt stains on the belly of his shirt.

Winner of the Sumter County, SC, Literary Prize. First published in Tar River Poetry; rptd. in Keep and Give Away (University of South Carolina Press, 2006). 

The Day after Visiting Grace, 94

Hillsborough, NC
The deer near the edge of the woods
look in the window. They seem to know me.
Three of them have stopped 
summer’s clock. The tiger swallowtails 
on the buddleia open their wings to purple.
The ones on the privet lie still as blossoms.
Crows have gathered on the ground,
a small and shifting jury of discontent.
The buddleia are pale, past their peak. 
Does the air, humid and gray, 
move in closer? The largest crow
is insistent about it, in a yard full of green 
on the verge of turning yellow. 
Grace, what I wish for you today,
another Better Boy tomato, fresh  
from the small garden of someone you know,
peeled and cut into chunks, placed in a bowl
for you, bibbed, in your wheelchair.
May you take your fork,
with your good arm, to eat each wedge
of pulp, then lift the bowl,
as you said you’d do, to drink
the settlement of seeds, letting a few 
run down your chin, on your tongue
the last drops of juice, a quenching.
First published in North Carolina Literary Review.

A poem written during a trip to Florida, where you might see a parakeet somewhere other than inside a cage.

Dear Black-Hooded Parakeets
at the Intersection
The dark-&-slightest-green of you 
mimics pigeons on the wire. 
Against the light I can’t tell
and habit’s got the best of me 
until I look again and see, I swear,  
not pigeons but a sudden flutter
of pistachios, limes, tourmaline  
bandits caped and quilled—
bright, then brighter, filling the sky.
I’m arrival and departure.  
Foolish doubletake, cautionless 
and agog. You are morning, its jig 
of surprise, hello-goodbye,  
hallelujah free and featherborne. 

First published in Subtropics.

Her book Keep and Give Away was published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2006 after being selected by Terrance Hayes for the inaugural South Carolina Poetry Book Prize, sponsored by the press and the SC Poetry Initiative. Keep and Give Away also won the 2007 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book Award for Poetry and the Brockman-Campbell Book Award. Her chapbook Lessons in Leaving received the 1998 Persephone Press Book Award, judged by Brendan Galvin. Her poetry has also been published in The Southern Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse,  jubilat, Subtropics, and other journals, as well as online at Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. For the past three years her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

Keep and Give Away can be ordered through these sources:

·      University of South Carolina Press:http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/books/2006/3670.html
·      Amazon.com
·      Barnes and Noble
·      Various independent bookstores

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Word is out on The Byron Herbert Reece First Annual Poetry Contest sponsored by the Byron Herbert Reece Society at Young Harris College:

Valerie Nieman – Winner

Bill Allgood, Runner Up

Laurence Holden, Blance Farley, and Mary Louise Stark, 
Honorable Mentions


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Members of NC Writer Network West were all over the place at BLUE RIDGE BOOKFEST 2011 held at Blue Ridge Community College in Hendersonville/Flat Rock, North Carolina on May 20 and 21.
(in photo Glenda Beall former Program Coordinator and now Netwest Rep for Clay County, Dwayne Drumheller Netwest Rep from Brevard County and our NCWN Board Representative, Jayne Jaudon Ferrer  SC Rep, Nancy Simpson, a co founder of NCWN West, Lana Hendershott Henderson County Rep, Nancy Purcell Transylvania County Rep. and J C Walkup Haywood County Rep.

Poet and Program NCWN West Coordinator Rosemary Royston and 
Poet, Editor and Publisher Scott Owen 

(Nancy Simpson shares the weekend:)

I opened the bookfest with a poetry writing workshop, free and open to the public. The workshop, "Writing Comtemporary American Free Verse Poetry," discussed rules and guidelines for writing in the free verse form today. I gave my definition of  "Lyric" as it applies today  and led the students in writing a lyric poem.

I was amazed to look up and see so many accomplished poets and was more than pleased at how they took my writing prompt and wrote such fine  poems. I was pleased with the specific questions students asked about  how to make a free verse pleasing to the ear?  I was happy to have the poet, editor  and publisher Scott Owens  there because he added much to the discussion.

(in photo above Glenda Beall, Nancy Simpson, Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, Lana Hendrshott, Rosemary Royston, Nancy Purcell and JC Walkup.)

On Saturday, free and open to the public, Glenda Beall, former Program Cordinator moderated a panel discussion on the publication of  ECHOES ACROSS THE BLUE RIDGE:
Stories, Essays and Poems by Writers  Living in and Inspired by the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

  I am happy that I had the opportunity to discuss how I assembled this colletion of stories, essays and poems,  how in editing the book "a variation of individual voices began telling me the story of the wide mountains, the high summits, valley towns, farms, the deep woods, 
rivers, lakes, the critters  and the humans who dwell here." This I read straight from the front of the book.

Our panel had less than one hour to share information. One of my questions was how to assemble a chapbook poetry collection. I guarantee that topic would take weeks to cover, but I  gave my best tips as did other members on the panel.

Tom Hooker of Hendersonville, author of the short story "SHMILY" (in Echoes) signed my copy of the anthology, which I carry to all NCWN West events. During the day Poet Joan Thiel Blessing stopped by my book table and bought my book. I asked her to to sign her poem in my copy of the anthology.

I thank The Blue Ridge Bookfest for giving me my first opportunity to exhibit and sell my book  LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE New and Selected Poems, published by Carolina Wren Press.

 Poet Linda M. Smith of Hayesville ,  at my table. Also Rosemary Royston of Georgia  with Poet Ken Chamlee of Brevard who stopped by my table and  bought my book.  I happily signed it for him.
Short Story Writers: Lana Hendershott, Nancy Percell and J.C. Walkup welcome visitors at  the NCWN West table. (THANK YOU LADIES) Copies of the anthology sold like hot cakes. 

Poet Glenda Beall at her own table where sold copies of her chapbook NOW MIGHT AS WELL BE THEN published at Finishing Line Press.

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer at her own book table at the Blue Ridge Bookfest- books, books, books,

This was the 3rd Annual Blue Ridge Bookfest. It was financed by a large grant and offered free to the public.  Their purpose is "Celebrating authorship, creative writing, and the joy of reading." Another is being planned for next year. Plan to participate next year if you missed this year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nancy Simpson will teach a free and open to the public Poetry Writing Workshop at BLUE RIDGE BOOKFEST FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2011.

The third annual Blue Ridge Bookfest is scheduled for May 20-21, 2011 at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, NC.  This literary festival brings together over 40 authors and hundreds of readers for a unique opportunity to meet, listen and share ideas.  The Bookfest itself has no admission fee.

A Poetry Writing Workshop taught by Instructor Nancy Simpson, (FREE) will be held on Friday afternoon, 1:30 - 3:00, and a (FREE) fiction writing workshop will follow. 

             At 5:30, on May20th, there is a “Meet and Greet” Reception ($25.00/ticket).  This is a wonderful opportunity for the authors and the public to mingle over wine and substantial hors d’oeuvres.    Free activities resume at 6:30 p.m with a program featuring Ann B. Ross, the 2011 Bookfest Honoree and bestselling author.  This event includes an interview with Ms. Ross and a “Miss Julia” dramatization. 
            Saturday, May 21, continues with free workshops, book exhibits, conversations with authors, sales and signings from 8:45 through 4:00 PM.  
            The complete Bookfest program listing of the activities, authors, area lodging, and directions to the Blue Ridge Community College can be found at www.blueridgebookfest.org.  Questions concerning the Blue Ridge Bookfest may be directed to Tom McCain (828-692-3267) or Bill Ramsey (828-698-1022)

"Guitar" by Susan Laughter Meyers POET OF THE MONTH OF MAY 2011

Susan Laughter Meyers writes:
“This poem was  inspired by Boccherini’s Guitar 
Quintet #4 in D Major. I was listening to 
it while writing, and soon the music became 
the poem.”
On any given night it picks its way 
down the canyon, one step
almost in front of the other—agile enough 
to slip by whatever spells trouble. 
Forget fear. It slides down rocks, if it has to, 
to reach bottom. By day, a red bandana 
or straw hat, and why not?
No map, just crosshatch and parallel.
It inhales the heat, and the pinched cold
creeping off the mountain. 
It lives alone, turns its back to the wolves. 
Say it's a tin cup with bent handle. 
Peyote in full bloom. A train 
pulling rich cargo across the horizon. 
Tequila. A thumbnail piercing the skin 
of a lime, the ripe shower that follows.
First published in Crazyhorse; rptd. in 
Keep and Give Away (University of South Carolina Press, 2006).

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Wild Goose Poetry Review

Contemporary Poetry, Reviews, and Commentary

Submission Guidelines

Submission Deadlines / Publication Dates
Summer 2010 July 31 / August 15
Fall 2010 October 31 / November 15
Winter 2011 January 31 / February 15
Spring 2011 April 31 / May 15
Summer 2011 July 31 / August 15
Fall 2011 October 31 / November 15
Submit 3-5 unpublished poems typed in the body of your email,
preferably in Times New Roman 12 pitch to
Scott Owens (asowens1@yahoo.com).
No simultaneous submissions, please. Our response time is
usually less than one month.
Submit no more than once per reading period.
Author retains all rights.
There is currently no compensation for published poems.
Looking for good contemporary poetry. No particular biases.
Enjoy humor, strong imagery, strong lines, narrative, lyric, etc.
Not a fan of abstraction, cliche, form for the sake of form,
shock for the sake of shock. As in any good poem, everything
should be purposeful. If accepted, I will request a 100-word
maximum comment on each poem. Choosing not to
submit a comment will not alter the acceptance decision.

Note from Nancy Simpson.

This is an On Line Poetry Magazine edited by Scott Owens 
that has published the poems of a number of my students: 
Karen Holmes, Carole Richard Thompson, Maren O. 
Mitchell and most recently Barbara Groce. You can 
read the entire issue on line. Read it and see 
if you have poems that will fit here. 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Submit On Line DAMSELFLY PRESS - A Gathering of Women's Voices


Submission Guidelines
We read year round.
We only accept online submissions with the genre in the e-mail header.
Submissions must be in a Word document or .RTF attachment.
Please include writer’s contact information and bio (not to exceed 50 words) on a separate cover page. We blind read all submissions.
Fiction- Send up to 10 pages of fiction not to exceed 2,500 words max. Submitters may send up to two fictional stories per submission to Jennifer@damselflypress.net
Poetry- Send 1-3 poems in ONE attachment to Lesley@damselflypress.net
Nonfiction- Send up to 10 pages of nonfiction not to exceed 2,500 words max. Submitters may send up to two nonfiction submissions, such as memoir or personal essays, to Nonfiction@damselflypress.net
We do not accept previously published work.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted.
We are unable to provide compensation to writers for accepted submissions at this time.
If a writer’s work initially appears in damselfly press and is later published elsewhere, we request an acknowledgement.
For writers whose work has been accepted by our journal, please wait for up to a year after publication before resubmitting.
Please refrain from submitting if you are not open to edits. Selected pieces often require minimal editing.
Submissions that do not follow these guidelines will be rejected without being read.

Send submissions to: