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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, June 5, 2011

Distinguished North Carolina poet, Shelby Dean Stephenson Named Poet of the Month, June 2011. Let us celebrate his life and his poetry in this his birth month.

Shelby Stephenson, is author of
Family Matters: Homage to July, the 
Slave Girl winner of the coveted Bellday 
Poetry Prize for 2008.  For 
Dr. Stephenson, a veteran of thirty years 
in the department of English at Pembroke
College and longtime editor of 
UNCP’s distinguished literary journal, 
Pembroke Magazine,  Family Matters makes his
10th poetry collection publication and his fifth major 
award.  Stephenson reports 
that the idea for Family Matters came—as 
so many of them do—serendipitously, yet 
almost inevitably.  While leafing through 
materials laid out on his sister’s desk (she 
had been researching Stephenson family 
history), he came upon a document he 
found both deeply disturbing and im- 
mensely inspiring: an 1850 deed con- 
firming his great-great-grandfather’s sale 
of a ten-year-old slave girl named “July.”  
(See list of book publications below)

Poems by Shelby Dean Stephenson will be featured throughout the month
of June here. Read, enjoy and leave your comment.


for Ronald H. Bayes

"Imagine the enlightenment or ignorance of our
nature in a figure."–Socrates, "The Allegory of the Cave,"

I believe in an aristocracy
which has a grease pit of autocracy
with one supreme monkey autonomous under us all,
including a little sideshow
symbolic of nothing I can imagine,
constructed so the matter loses charisma,
energy lying limp as a goose's neck on a block
after the axe has fallen into the collected aims of concept and concussion,
where all statements of creation are wrong except the one
stoical holding out for the "I."
Appearances are phenomenal,
positive and pragmatic as the old
predestination which holds me in a sling of fate.
Echoes lead to other voices, other rooms.
Home is where peripheries are.
Previously published inCairn)



  Now one time I had an apple orchard
And time was apple blossom white
                        With a heaven made in treecrotches.
                        The mules spraddled their legs, blinked pink aftermaths of pissing.
                        Roadapples I stored for bases in the yard.

Across the dirtroad the garden lay,
Paradise of okra, peanuts, gardenpeas, squash, tomatoes,
                        Maytle Samantha’s slip falling below her hem,
                                    Cucumbers, potatoes, radishes, turnips, butterbeans, collards,
                        My bare feet hopping clods.

The hedges were handsome as the doves
I stalked with my Daisy:
            Hi yo Silver
                        Saddled me
            And we rode from gummy, tobaccoblooming fields

The ten miles to town−
Warehouses−the smell of cured tobacco
            I chewed in those suncured days
                        The Neuse River rippled with shad,
            The farmers on the banks working their seines.

My seat, a burlap sheet torn in two−Middle Creek!−
Leafboats sank in puddles kicking round
            Beaver Dam where flapping tails went silly
                        And teeth
            Gnawed tulip poplars down.

Thicksmellingrich with cornshucking and fall’s fodder
I stripped and tied in bundles
            Shocks beside haystacks,
                        The caves underneath where I jumped a rabbit
            And sat to watch for the orchard boy.


            It is a roundabout sleight
January whiffs over hogs,
The boy’s nose a running sight.
Dangles over dogs
Howling for a morsel
 Previously published in Cave Wall) 

 Publications and Prizes as listed in Poet and Writers Directory
Books:Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl (Bellday Books, 2008), Possum (Bright Hill Press, 2004), Greatest Hits (Pudding House Publications, 2002), The Persimmon Tree Carol (Juniper Press, 2002), Fiddledeedee (The Bunny & The Crocodile Press, 2001), Poor People (Nightshade Press, 1998), Plankhouse (North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, 1993)

Chapbooks:Possum (Bright Hill Press, 2004)
Journals:Bits, BLINK: A Little Magazine of Little Poems, Carolina Quarterly, Hudson Review, Poetry Northwest

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