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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."

Friday, May 6, 2011


Friends of Poetry, I am happy to announce that Susan Laughter Meyers has been named POET OF THE MONTH, here Above the Frost Line, in this her birth month.  Whether a long time fan of her poems or if you are meeting her for the first time, you will want to follow this celebration from beginning to end. There will be at least three posts focused entirely on this well known Carolina poet--born in North Carolina and raised in South Carolina.

Hat of Many Goldfinches
by Susan Laughter Meyers

Say you could wear twenty goldfinches on your head,
ten females in their soft, modest plumage
and ten bright males.
What jubilation,
all that twittering and hopping about.
Little feet massaging your scalp, little beaks
perchicoreeing to everyone you pass.
No need for ribbons
or veils on your black and yellow nest
of excitement, your curious crown of animation.

But how to seduce the finches to stay. A sprinkle
of thistle in your hair might hold them
long enough for you to kneel
at the altar of morning.
Gives you goose bumps
to feel the beaks tapping against your skin.
Walking down noon’s aisle, you nod
and they shift a little.
More shuffling,
and the hat is rearranged. Take your photo,
or look in the mirror, and the hat you see there
is another, not the same hat you wear now.

Never depend on a hat of goldfinches
to bore you.
And forget the hatbox. These hats rest in sweet gums
and maples, on a narrow shelving of limbs.

I once knew a woman who wore her robin hat
when the finches wouldn’t come. But the hat was heavy
and the brown depressed her.
She stayed home that morning,
her hair crawling with worms. The day she wore her
bluebird hat the bugs bothered her breathing,
the smallest attracted to the wind of her nostrils.

Now she knows to wait
for the finches. As long as there are finches,

there’s a dream of a hat of finches—
the hat
we all want to wear on the day we die.
Imagine your own last dimming, its perfect
orchestration: final breath, pause,
a sudden fluttering
and lifting of forty somber wings.

First published in American Poetry Journal; rptd. at Verse Daily and in Keep and Give Away (University of South Carolina Press, 2006).

 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

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