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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, July 10, 2011


Dana Wildsmith is the author of four collections of poetry: One Good Hand Iris Press, 2005), Our Bodies Remember (The Sow’s Ear Press, 2000), Annie (Palanquin Press, 1999), and Alchemy (The Sow’s Ear Press, 1995). One Good Hand was a SIBA Poetry Book of the Year nominee. In this her birth month, she has been named Poet of the Month of July, 2011.

Wildsmith is  also the author of an environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal: Surviving with an Old Farm in the New South (MotesBooks). 

She has served as Artist-in-Residence for the Grand Canyon National Park and for The Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and has been a Poetry Fellow with the South Carolina Academy Of Authors. Her work is widely published in journals and anthologies, including most recently: Writing By ear (MotesBooks), Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia (University Press of Kentucky), The Southern Poetry Anthology (Texas Review Press, 2007), and Women, Period (Spinsters Ink). Wildsmith lives in Bethlehem, Georgia.    


Nothing so pleases as
yanking winter grass
from a squared-off plot—
untangling the earth
one hank at a time
while afternoon
rests softly on your back
and options
grit among your thought
like seeds.

We break a sweat brushing our teeth.
Fish-slick, who says we gave up gills?
We’re breathing, aren’t we ? The air 
six a.m. is hot water;
the sky is a slap of blue.
We wade into miasma
in t-shirts, shorts and brimmed hats,
sweat-tides already rising
at our necks and armpits and sides
where the heat needs to bubble out.

Sweet Sweat

Wouldn’t seem honest not to sweat,
like claiming bragging rights 
on two armloads of Better Boys
half a pound each with no spots
while you stand there dry as July clay.
It’s sweat proves you grew these beauts.
Sweat’s how you earn your okra;
it’s your right to sweet iced tea;
it’s your Georgia union card.
The deeper you’ve dug 
your generational toehold
into Winder’s red dirt,
Blood Mountain’s granite,
the kaolin clay under Claxton,
the more kinds of sweat
you’re able to tell apart right off--
like knowing you can hear
south Georgia scrub
in that banker’s voice,
despite he claims Atlanta).
From birth, you know underarm sweat so well
it’s hardly worth the mention;
it’s what you get lugging groceries
from car to kitchen. Spend the morning
yanking garden weeds and you get
whole-back sweat, wet neck,
sticky back-of-the-knees.
An afternoon running fence wire
adds scalp sweat to all these,
and digging post holes
puddles hot sweat in your ears.
But it’s when eyelid sweat starts to
gum your lashes that everybody knows
you’ve hauled in groceries, hoed beans,
and by god run forty more feet of fence wire.
You should sit down. Cool off. Let the sweat dry.
Have a glass of iced tea.
You’ve done an honest day’s work.

These poems from One Good Hand by Dana Wildsmith, Iris Press


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