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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."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE (BLOG) Celebrated Its 3rd Anniversary on Oct. 26, 2011.

 “Living Above the Frost Line is a dwelling place for practicing poets. Here we give ourselves some extra time. Yes, we know the hard freeze will come, but until it arrives, we shall grow and share our poems.”

The Focus of this blog is Poetry Writing, Southern and Appalachian Poets, and Living in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in this day and time.

We’re sunrise watchers, moonrise watchers, sunset and moonset watchers. We’re obsessed with flowers and especially enjoy a full sun perennial garden growing on a mountain in the middle of a deciduous forest. The goal here always has been to see something blooming, even in the dead of winter, and that is sometimes possible.

There is great joy seeing the forest with a full range of color at leaf peak and at the same moment to see flowers still blooming. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

STACKING STONES - DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE in the Southern Appalachian Mountains)

 True, this is the year (2011) I found myself many times walking along the banks of the Hiwassee River, in one place or another, in Hiawassee, Georgia, at several spots in Hayesville, NC and even down behind the old rock gym in Murphy, NC. I hitched a ride with anyone who would take me there.
(With Tim at Quanasee)

My favorite spot at the moment is near the old Quanesee Indian Mound at Hayesville. It was once a thriving Cherokee Village on a major trading route in the 1700s known as The Unicoi Turnpike.

Recently we found rocks stacked alongside the river. I do not know who put them there. I remember hearing stories how the Cherokee in Oklahoma often come to this area hunting their old ancesteral grounds.When I first saw the rocks, my guess was that a returning Native American stacked them.

Jeremy reminded me stacking rocks together is what friends do in Switzerland. And I remembered the Bible scripture that says "There is a time to gather stones together,"-- a symbol of unity at a marriage
in ancient days.

At the river with neighbor, Ruth. And another neighbor and exercise buddy Cheryl called me this past weekend and told me she had walked down by the river, and she described the stacked rocks. She said  she also took some good photos of the rocks.

 The Hiwassee as it flows through Hayesville, NC.

This photo taken in September on the Hiawassee River below Chatuge Dam, Hayesville (with Lynn.)

 Walking with Tim's friend, Kathy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deep in the Southern Appalachian Mountains - NCWN West Writers Celebrates Twenty Years of their professional writing organization known as NC Writers Network West.

Imagine - Twenty years for us "unknown" writers of the NC State. Twenty years later, we are still about the business of writing. If anything true can be said,  it is this. We consistently celebrate writing. Against all odds, our writers are still here, still writing, still publishing, never winning of course, but that could change. I  overheared a conversation between two poets who were agreeing, a composit of their statements:  "I'd rather see a review of my book in Prairie Schooner than to be a finalist in  the I NEVER HEARD OF IT contest."

 On the shores of Lake Chatuge, near Hayesville, North Carolina on Sunday October 16, 2011
Rosemary Royston, Program Coordinator

Rosemary Royston and Susan Anderson

Shirley Uphouse, former Program Coordinator
Invited Guest, visiting the area, Poet and Publisher Scott Owens
Poet Carole Richard Thompson ( NCWN West's Georgia Representative) and her husband, Norm

Poet Brenda Kay Ledford, Judy and Bob Grove
Brenda Kay Ledford, Nancy Simpson

Linda M. Smith

Karen Paul Holmes and Maren O.Mitchell

Visitor, Janet Bentley, Peg Russell, Janice Moore

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CALLING ALL POETS - Plan to Head Out for Asheville For the BIG Fall Writing Conference

The Cherokees believed that the spot where Asheville now sits was a center of spiritual and creative energy.

Plenty of modern-day Ashevillians will tell you that it still is.

If you are a poet, and want to absorb a little of that energy while receiving top-flight instruction in the craft, then come be a part of the Network’s 2011 Fall Conference, November 18 – 20 at Asheville’s DoubleTree Hotel.
October 11, 2011
(Photo taken  when NCWN's Fall Conferene was previously held in Asheville) Anthony Abbott, one of North Carolina’s most beloved poets and teachers, will lead this year’s Master Class in Poetry, “Memorization, Recitation, and the Art of Poetry.”  “We cannot fully understand a poem by simply ‘studying’ it academically, nor can we bring own poems to completion without reciting them aloud to ourselves and others,” Abbott said.  “So we will explore the process of oral recital and memorization and the movement from memorization to public performance, and look at what we learn about the poem itself from that process.”  Space in the Master Class is limited, so register now.

Other poetry workshops include “Poetry, Archetypal Imagery, and You” with Katherine Soniat; “Writing Momentously” with Scott Owens; “Poetry Writing Here and Now” with Nancy Simpson; “The Power of Poetry” with Keith Flynn; and “Prose Poetry, Point of View, and Personal Archive” with Holly Iglesias.

The Fall Conference also offers you a chance to sit down for half an hour, one-on-one, with a publishing professional.  If you have a rough draft you need to hone, sign up for the Critique Service with Rosemary Royston or one of our other experienced critiquers.  If you want your work to find a wider readership, the Marketing Mart will help you craft an effective marketing plan.

Of course, all the above could simply provide you with a convenient excuse to visit Asheville in the fall.

Starting this year, the Network will offer Mary Belle Campbell Scholarships to poets who teach full-time.  Please contact Ed Southern at ed@ncwriters.org if you want to apply.

October 19 is the deadline to reserve a room at either the DoubleTree or the adjacent Sleep Inn at a reduced conference rate.  Be sure to mention the North Carolina Writers’ Network if you make your reservation by phone at 828-274-1800 (DoubleTree) or 828-277-1800 (Sleep Inn); or visit this site to book a room at the DoubleTree.

October 31 is the deadline to sign up for the Master Class, Manuscript Mart, Critique Service, or Marketing Mart, but these offerings fill up fast.

November 11 is the deadline to register for the conference itself.  Visit www.ncwriters.org or call 336.293.8844 to register now, or to ask any questions you may have.

We look forward to seeing you in Asheville.

Copyright 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011


CELEBRATE LEAF PEAK AND POETRY on the same Sunday when NC Writers Network WEST gathers writers for their 20th Annual Picnic 

On the shores of Lake Chatuge, Clay County Recreation Park in Hayesville, NC

 On October 16, 2011, 2 pm, NCWN-West or Netwest will celebrate its 20th anniversary.  All members and anyone interested in Writing or interested in learning more about NC Writers Network West  are invited.  You do not have to be a member to attend. The picnic will be in Hayesville, NC, at “Leaf Peak” at the Clay County Recreation Park (pavilion by the water).  

All those attending should bring a covered dish, chair, and drink (plates, napkins, and silverware will be provided). 


The meal will be followed by brief remarks from Program Coordinator Rosemary Royston, a reading from Guest Poet, Editor and Publisher Scott Owens, and then an open mike. 

Readings for the open mike session should consist of ONE PAGE of prose or two short poems per person.  Time limit is 2.5 minutes.  In order to accommodate as many readers as possible, please time your piece before reading.

Members can sell their books on the book table.

This is a golden opportunity to meet area writers and also a chance for you to come and read a sample of your writing.
OPEN MIC IS open to all writers, even non members.


          Occupy Wall Street is the new movement, that today on MEET THE PRESS  and other t.v. programs was said to be “Peaceful, Quiet.” About all that was heard was the chant: “ They got bailed out! We got sold out,” which implies something is not fair. ” Americans are eager to see our economy restored.  Americans expect fairness, for it is one of our most enduring values.
         Here in the deep south, Southern Appalachian Mountains, I am as isolated as ever from what is happening or failing to happen in my country. If I could go, if I could join the march, I would.  Like other Americans, I feel thwarted at ever turn. I am trying to understand the failure of elected politicians to do their job, to bring our economy back  and to fix our broken government. I understand the problem is not the fault of President Obama.
         Everyone can do something. At this time in my life, I cannot occupy Wall Street, but  I can add my voice. I can say, “Occupy Wall Street, but stay away from Ingles.”  I advise you to do what you can to bring the price of groceries down.
         President Bush, as he left office, said that if Wall Street was not quickly “bailed out”, we would have an economic depression. Having myself been born during in the “Great Depression,”  I grew through the years of my life, dreading that an economic depression might return. My father drilled me. He made sure every member of our family knew it would be horrible if it happened. My father said if a great depression came back again, the younger generations, being spoiled,  would simply go insane. Gone now, he is no longer having to worry about that. I do wish I could tell him that it is actually the younger generation that stepped forth to protest on  Wall Street this week.
         During three years under the present administration, when things did not get better as quickly as I hoped it would, here in the mountains where I live which operates not under a recession but under a depressed economy,  I keep thinking of my father’s words.  I believed the price of everything would come down, but  no. Look around. Nothing has come down in price. Everything has gone up, up and keeps going up.
         I remember a few years ago when the gas prices first began rising. The only store in my town, Ingles,  was ready, as if they knew it was coming. They introduced us to our little “Advantage” cards.  At that identical moment, they raised the price on every item in their store.  They gouged and have relentlessly continued to raise prices.
         Each week I study the Ingles Sales Sheet before making my shopping list. This week Ingles offers Campbell's Soup, (which has enough salt to kill me) on sale 10 for $6.00. Campbell's soup used to be  5 for $1.00.   This week you can get Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker Cake mix 4 for $6.00. This time last year these cake mixes were 89 cents a box. I remember making several apple-walnut cakes for my family last Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now Ingles want us to buy 4 boxes at a time, and wants us to pay more while we do that. We’ve celebrated a birthday in the family and  needed ice cream too. 1/2 gallon carton is on sale this week for $3.98.  Imagine, almost $8.00 for a gallon of ice cream.
         There is no fruit in the store under $1.00 a pound. If you want to eat healthy, you pay $6.00 a pound for fresh salmon.   You can get canned Chef Boyardee spaghetti with meat balls or Ravoli or Armor Chili - 10 cans for $10.00. Something we can afford, but read the labels carefully, check the protein content, and avoid High Fructose Corn syrup, an engineered chemical. It is not natural fruit fructose. It is not the corn syrup your mother put in your baby formula. HFCS has been taken from store shelves throughout America, but it appears, as has been long customary, they ship their rejects to Appalachia. They think we cannot read.        
         Will staying away from Ingles change anything? I do not know, but I will be watching to see if food prices everywhere begin to return to a fair price, especially the price of bread and milk and the foods needed to feed a family.  If prices do not come down,  America will crash in a great depression. Then all prices will come down.

Comments? How many mouths do you have to feed? Where are the best prices for food, fruit, eggs, bread, milk?  Where are the best prices for paper products? Do you use discarded tee shirts for rags? Did you grow a garden? Did you can or freeze for winter?

Friday, October 7, 2011


 Leaf Peak is just days away, maybe ten days away, beautiful now, and getting to be knock-your-eyes-out gorgeous. 
It’s time to make the plan, time to fill the gas tank of the car, and grab the camera, grab the baby. Everyone goes.  
My viewpoint is the Southern Appalachian Mountains in the far western North Carolina mountains near Murphy, Hayesville, Franklin and on toward Sylva, Waynesville, and Asheville. Drive east or dive west. It honestly does not matter. On October 7th, the foliage is mostly green,but one has to say, "The leaves are changing before our eyes."
Today, it is a beautiful drive from Hayesville toward Franklin. Other out of the way rides will be magical in the weeks to come.  
Someone came to my house yesterday and said, “It’s just not all that pretty this year.” How can anyone say that? If not this ridge, look yonder to that ridge. You cannot miss it if you open your eyes.
(Below. See photos taken Oct.6th on my property and throughout the region.)

And please do not think you have missed it if there is a reason you cannot drive forth now. From now until the 7th of November, you will see beautifully colored leaves. Even beyond "peak" you will an amazing ridge here and a brilliant ridge there.
Visitors to Western North Carolina’s mountains can look forward to a vibrant display of color this autumn, predicts Kathy Gould Mathews, Western Carolina University’s fearless fall foliage forecaster.

Graveyard Fields

Grandfather Mountain