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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, September 11, 2011

On 9-11's Tenth Anniversary - Three Poems by Poet Nancy Simpson


I was the first to arrive
though bystanders stood
immobile. My legs wouldn’t move
but my training stepped forth.

My arms reached out.
My hands dug thorugh rubble
that smoke filled day.
I raised bodies. In the night

my lungs gave out. Now
you want all I know.
I can’t recall one name, not even
the face of a brother who worked at my side,

his arm and my arm pulling forth a woman, alive.
I remember her scream and thought
touched by terror what happened to her
will keep happening for the rest of her life.

That’s not enough. You want more?
Will you think me shallow minded if I tell you
that day, until my last breath, I heard
the sound of cell phones ringing.

That Day
It was a clear day across the vista,
mountain ridges tufted with red oaks
and sugar maples turning a bittersweet orange, 
joy in my heart a moment exploding
before I learned ships sank in lower Manhattan, 
the fleet of two. On their decks passengers 
from different nations traveling together, 
screamed for their lives. Some tried to fly
through portholes.  That day,
I learned the meaning of the word
machination: a secret scheme of artful design
intended to cause evil, that September day,
joy in my heart gone gray as ash.

Years Later - Still the Old Dream

Blue gown, a mask, blue feather in my hair,
I dressed for what I thought was a party.
Friends left in vans with no room for me.
I didn’t know if I was left behind for a reason
or if they waited asking, “What happpened to her?”

A stranger said she would help me get a flight
at the airport, but she left without pointing the way
to the terminal, then reappeared around a building.
I followed, but she vanished again through a storefront
with broken windows. I walked, lost. Past midnight

I found myself in lower Manhattan.
Men and women hurried past. They were not
the friends I was looking for, but I knew them
in that place lit like day. 
A dragon-toothed machine ate rubble.
I began to gather scattered papers from the ground.

(small extra line edit for this narrow space only)

BIO Nancy Simpson

Nancy Simpson is the author of three poetry collections: Across Water, Night Student and most recently Living Above the Frost Line, New and Selected Poems published 2010 at Carolina Wren Press. She also edited Echoes Across the Blue Ridge (anthology 2010). She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a B.S. in Education from Western Carolina University. She received a N.C. Arts Fellowship and co founded NC Writers Network West,  a non profit, professional writing organization serving writers living in the remote mountains west of Asheville and the North Georgia Mountains.  For more than thirty years she has been know as “beloved teacher” to thousands of young writers.  
Simpson’s  poems have been published in The Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review, Seneca Review,  New Virginia Review, Prairie Schooner and in other literary magazines.  Her poem, “Night Student” was reprinted in the anthology Word and Wisdom, 100 Years of N.C. Poetry and in Literary Trails of N.C. (2008) Seven of her poems poems are featured in Southern Appalachian Poetry, a textbook anthology published at McFarland Press.  The Southern Poetry Review, Armstrong College in Savannah, Georgia included one of her poems in their 50th Anniversary issue, Don't Leave Hungry.  Her poem “Carolina Bluebirds” was included in  The Poets Guide to Birds ( Anhinga 2009) an anthology edited by Judith Kitchen and Ted Kooser.
            Nancy Simpson lives in Hayesville, NC. Through 2010 she served as Resident Writer at the John C. Campbell Folk School.  Presently she teaches Poetry Writing at the Institute For Continued Learning at Young Harris College.


LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE New and Selected Poems by Nancy Simpson 
Publisher: Carolina Wren Press


and other reviews and info about Southern and Appalachian writers


Lynn Hamilton Rutherford said...

Mom ... these are so chilling and haunting! You've completely captured the feeling of the day. If I'd never even LIVED through that day, I would be able to say, without a doubt, that I knew EXACTLY what it must have been like. Incredible!

Glenda Beall said...

Last year on 9/11 I was in NYC and riding on the top of a double deckdecker bus, a tour guide pointing out the sights. We could see the site of the bombing of the towers from the bus and lines of people going there. On the sidewalks and in parks groups held forth chanting for peace.
I wanted to shout to them, I don't think there will ever be peace again.

Nancy Simpson said...

Glenda, I understand how you felt seeing the bomb site. Yes, we are at war, but as a practicing pacifist all of my adult life, I can assure you the truth. War opens the mouths of more and more pacifist marching and chanting and writing. The day a new war starts is the day we start trying to stop it.

Thanks for your comment. I wish more would comment. This is the best place to do it because you can say a bit more. The facebookers have other personal, pressing problems.