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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."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Nancy Simpson says, "Trust me. You must own, hold and read Kathryn Kirkpatrick's  new book

One Poem From
Our Held Animal Breath 
(WordTech Editions, forthcoming 2012)
First published in The Southern Review

Our Held Animal Breath

Here at the conference hotel
I keep one foot in another world.

Forget what city I’m in—
each room is a piece of unripe fruit

shipped from a factory farm.
We school in fluorescent twilight

try to be wise without windows,
open ourselves in the unopened air.

Smitten with sameness, we’re lost together,
collecting sore throats and coughs

so outside when we gather on concrete
across from the parking garage

we gasp when the rabbit appears
alone on the exit ramp

and wait to see how on earth
it lives here, between wheels and exhaust,

as if watching whatever is left
of our warm and vulnerable selves.

A leap at the last moment
into the managed green

of a flowerbed, all uniform,
unopened bulbs and we cheer

because, for the moment, escape,
survival in the common release

of our held animal breath.

Kathleen Kirkpatrick currently holds a dual appointment at Appalachian State University as a Professor in the English Department and the Sustainable Development Program. She has a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Emory University, where she received an Academy of American Poets poetry prize.  Her poetry collections include The Body’s Horizon (1996), which was selected by Alicia Ostriker for the Brockman-Campbell award; Beyond Reason (2004), which was awarded the Roanoke-Chowan Poetry Prize by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; Out of the Garden (2007), which was a finalist for the Southern Independent Booksellers Association poetry award; Unaccountable Weather (2011) recently published by Press53, and Our Held Animal Breath (forthcoming in 2012).  She has held writing residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland and at Norton Island off the coast of Maine.  As a literary scholar in Irish studies and the environmental humanities, she has published essays on class trauma, ecofeminist poetics, and animal studies.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kathryn Kirkpatrick - Three Poems from her book Unaccountable Westher

We're singing the praises of POET OF THE MONT,  Kathryn Kirkpatrick here above The Frost Line in this her birth month These three poems are from her book Unaccountable Weather, Press 53 2011.

From Unaccountable Weather (Press 53, 2011)
First published in Calyx

The Garden of Lost Breasts

At first they are lonely,
severed from the capable chest.
Without feet, without bodies to carry them,

they arrive on the backs of herons,
in the pouches of possums.
Because they have often fed others,

the animals refuse to eat them,
will not leave them in labs
on pathology slides.

Instead they bring them here
like racehorses put out to pasture.
Having done the work

of nurture and beauty, nothing
more is required of these breasts—
coffee or golden, ivory or pink,

they have all forgiven someone.
Now they lounge under willows
or sun themselves by the lake.

And here among so many others,
they soon forget the lover’s tongue,
the low-cut gown, the matching breast.

From Unaccountable Weather (Press 53, 2011)
First published in The South Carolina Review


Up from the massage table
I catch sight of myself
in the unavoidable mirror.

Afternoon light doesn’t blink.
Basic bald head. Bare pudendum.
Soft pile of belly and hips.

Once mirrors drew me like friends,
broke my gloomy moods
with a smile, eyes brighter

than I’d remembered. Now I’m sacra
to myself, a neutral suggestion,
transpersonal form. Stripped

to Neolithic goddess, I’m all
that’s behind all that will ever be,
prima mater, prima material,

impersonal as rain, kneaded
to dozens of shapes, except
that my chest is  scarred

which is what you’d expect
of a goddess in this 21st century.

From Unaccountable Weather (Press 53, 2011)
First published in Shenandoah

After the Cave Paintings

Why do I stand unmoved,
jaded as a tabloid, refusing
astonishment, not down on
my knees, but sober as stone—
surely 19th-century spelunkers,
pranksters, or WWII resistance
fighters passing hours in the belly
of the mountain made these
bison, these bearded horses.

But carbon dating brings me
to my senses. Whatever I can’t take
in—1,500 generations, 32,000 years
here’s human memory on the horns
of an ibex, our ancestors making it up
from scratch.
                       Is it all too near
to where I’ve been?  Birth & Death.
Back and forth across that stuttering
line, illness a long darkness with only
a lantern and my love’s strong
arm, the uneven, the unearthly
                  Stalactites make their own
sense of water and limestone
as I’m to make something wholly new
from the dripstone of another life.

Just as well we’re not as firmly
anchored as we think.
In the thinned air, the wavering light,
easier to find that other self,
that knows as the animal
knows, as the bears in these caves
once knew, the first scratches on stone
their marks, beyond light, standing
upright on the old riverbed, so that
daughters of Adam, sons of Eve,
took up what the bears laid down,
dark claw on limestone, and drew.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kathryn Kirkpatrick HAS BEEN NAMED POET OF THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 2012. Two Poems and Bio.

Here "Above the Frost Line," Award Winning Poet, Kathryn Kirkpatrick has been named Poet of the Month for February 2012 in this her birth month.

Biography for Kathryn Kirkpatrick

Raised in the nomadic subculture of the U.S. military, Kathryn Kirkpatrick was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and grew up in the Phillipines, Germany, Texas and the Carolinas.  Today she lives with her husband, Will, and their two shelties in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and she currently holds a dual appointment at Appalachian State University as a Professor in the English Department and the Sustainable Development Program. She has a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Emory University, where she received an Academy of American Poets poetry prize.  Her poetry collections include The Body’s Horizon (1996), which was selected by Alicia Ostriker for the Brockman-Campbell award; Beyond Reason (2004), which was awarded the Roanoke-Chowan Poetry Prize by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; Out of the Garden (2007), which was a finalist for the Southern Independent Booksellers Association poetry award; Unaccountable Weather (2011) recently published by Press53. 

TWO POEMS by Kathryn Kirkpatrick:

From Beyond Reason (Pecan Grove Press, 2004)
Originally published in Kalliope


I dreamed of flying under bridges

                    or diving swift-like toward
the rushing ground at Curtiss Field.
                                                         He says
I'm just to check the wires, guide forward
and then back across the runway,
                                                    says if
I crashed they’d blame his Pusher plane
or him.
             To teach a woman how to lift
herself from earth in this frail fabric plane
is bad enough,
                      but flight, alone, intoxicates
like drink, like money, power.
                                               So when I find
the throttle lever blocked and take
away the piece of wood,
                                     I know the price
they’ll pay, years on, to see me risk my neck,
a freak because I’m first.
                           My hands are ice.

From Out of the Garden (Mayapple Press, 2007)

First published in The Florida Review

These Things No Longer Suffice

And I was walking in Chicago

with unnecessary purchases

or rather,
            they were necessary in that intangible way

like it is necessary to see a blackcap chickadee
light on a redbud in bloom.

It was something in clay

and something in paper

and I felt a little of that glow one feels

in the sensuous and material,

shorn up and satisfied

                                    for a moment
and saying how much I’d spent
when he stepped up with his empty

cup and it felt arbitrary
as wind not rain
that he had the cup
and reached it toward me
and I had the bags
and quickened my pace.

Why he with the empty cup?
And me with the laden bags?

I know the body is a reasonable animal.
Give it pure water, good food,
nest it in sheets washed clean.
Offer a share of touch.
And beauty. Give its sight beauty,
an arch of forsythia in spring.
Anger loses its urgent beat.
The claw of want retracts.

Why he with the empty cup?
And me with the laden bags?

What once would have sufficed,
the something in paper, the something in clay,
no longer sufficed.
Joy, that fragile wing, folded.

I wanted to say, paper, clay.
Because you are without pure water, good food,
I am without my small wing of joy.

I wanted to say, paper, clay.
If my laden bags require
your empty cup,

I give them back,
I give them back.

Now where is your wing,
O where is your wing of joy?

Please leave a comment here or
send the poet a comment if you wish.



I've noticed several searches recently - readers looking for "weather in the southern Appalachian Mountains" or "snow in the southern Appalachian Mountains. I have been slack in my weather reports this winter. The reason for that - we've not had much of a winter. 

We've had no snow until last Saturday morning, and that did not stick, even snowed most of the day, but it did not stick. I woke up this morning with snow again on the ground but at sunrise it rained and by noon the snow was gone. Neither time did it stick on the driveway, so there has been no alarm whatsoever. 

This winter has been nothing like the past two winters. It's been, so far, a wonderful, cozy winter with lots of walking weather.  And flowers, you will not believe it. The daffodils started blooming in the last days of January. By February 10th, I had many clumps of purple crocus blooming, King Alfred Daffodils and last Saturday, even with snow, my larger Flowering Quince bloomed and also one lovely Lenten Rose.  I will keep you posted if
anything changes, but as it stands, I have not seem much of winter this season on Cherry Mountain. It's been like a gift to me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Press 53 and Jacar, two North Carolina Presses will hold the 2nd Annual  Gathering of Poets in Winston Salem NC on April 7, 2012. Cost $125.00 plus your travel expense.  Limited to 53.

Featuring former NC Poet Laureate Fred Chappell, Current Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers and other workshop leaders.

Choose 2 morning workshops, 2 afternoon workshops. Faculty Reading and Open Mic.


Friday, February 3, 2012

NORTH CAROLINA WRITERS NETWORK WEST Opens a New Monthly Critique Group for Members

Prose Critique Sessions Begin February 9th. Come Join.

Photo: Netwest members: Linda Smith, Brenda Kay Ledford and Bob Grove.

              On Thursday, February 9th,  at 7 pm, Bob Grove will facilitate the North Carolina Writers Network West new Prose Critique Sessions.  It is to be held at Tri-Community College (Peachtree, NC between Hayesville and Murphy) in the McSwain Building, Room 152.   The sessions are open to members of  NetWest and there is no charge for participation.   For questions, contact Bob Grove at 828-837-3233 or bob@grove-ent.com.
The purpose of the critique group is to provide an immediate and useful feedback environment for a prose reading among fellow writers.  Short excerpts of fiction and non-fiction are welcome. 
Bob Grove

Bob Grove of Brasstown, NC, received his
Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State
University and his Master of Science in
Teaching degree from Florida Atlantic
University. He has taught courses in
English, journalism, and creative writing.
He is a former ABC-TV and radio news
journalist and program host and is a
popular guest speaker and reader.
Bob is founder and publisher of
Monitoring Times magazine, and has
published seven books and hundreds
of articles in fifteen magazines. Most
recently, he has written a mystery
novel, his memoir, a collection of
children’s stories, and some poetry.

Lucy Cole Gratton
Publicity Coordinator
NC Writers’ Network West
lgratton@hughes.netN C WRITERS NETW

Thursday, February 2, 2012




Rae Armantrout has published 10 books of poetry, including her most recent book, Money Shot (2011), and Versed (2009), which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work is widely anthologized and appears in Postmodern American Poetry, several editions of Best American Poetry, and The Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006). She is a professor of poetry and poetics at the University of California, San Diego.

Bellday Books will publish the winning book and award $2,000 and 25 copies of the book to the winning author.

-  Submit a manuscript of 60-90 pages of original poetry in any style in English. The
manuscript must not have been published in book or chapbook, but may contain poems that have appeared in print or on the Internet.  Entries may consist of individual poems, a book-length poem or any combination of long or short poems.
-  Submitted manuscript must contain 2 title pages: Name and contact information should appear on first title page only. Name should not appear anywhere else in the manuscript.
-  Include a table of contents page, but do not send an acknowledgements page.
-  Manuscript must be typed single-spaced, paginated and bound with a binder clip.
-  Enclose an SASE for announcement of the winner. Manuscripts cannot be returned.
-  Postmark deadline: March 15, 2012.
-  Include a check or money order for $25 reading fee, payable to BELLDAY BOOKS.
-  Bellday Books reserves the right not to select an award winner, in which case all reading fees will be refunded.

Bellday Books, Inc.
P.O. Box 3687
Pittsburgh, PA 15230

Questions may be directed to:


Hello Poets, Writers, and Friends,

Yes, I am still connected to NC Writers Network West, still a consultant. I strongly recommend their programs for writers living in the far western NC mountains, where there are literally no other on-going programs for writers.  These three programs featuring writers reading their work are free and open to the public. This is one way to meet other writers and a way to introduce yourself and learn more about NCWN West and our programs.

In February, three  programs you will want to attend are (1) COFFEE WITH THE POETS which presents one featured poet per month, with an open mic for all and ( 2) WRITERS NIGHT OUT that features one poet each month with an open mic for all and (3) POETS AND WRITERS READING POEMS AND STORIES  at John C. Campbell Folk School which features two readers, often one poet and one fiction writer who are publishing authors and members of NCWN West. --Nancy Simpson


You don't want to miss Bob Groves, featured reader this month at Coffee with the Poets.
Come early to get a good seat. Cafe Touche, 82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC
Open mic follows Bob's reading. Bring something to read, a poem or short prose piece.

Put the date on your calendar now. Wednesday, Feb. 8, 10:30 a.m.

We look forward to seeing everyone again.See you there,
Founder of Coffee With the Poets, Glenda Beall

Here's the press release with information on the poet reading at the next Writers' Night Out Feb 10. Hope to see you there. He does a fun and intelligent reading. --Karen Holmes


FEB 1, 2012 – Atlanta poet Rupert Fike will be the featured reader at Writers’ Night Out at Mountain Perk Coffee House in Hiawassee on Friday, February 10 at 7 p.m.  Audience members can also participate in an open microphone if they’d like to share their own poetry or prose. This is a free monthly event for people who love the written and spoken word.
Fike’s collection, Lotus Buffet (Brick Road Poetry Press), has earned him a nomination for Georgia Author of the Year 2011 in poetry. Two of the poems in the book have also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Writer Barbara Hamby says, “What happens when you cross a Southern raconteur with a Buddhist monk? You get Rupert Fike’s exhilarating poems.” His work has been published in Rosebud, The Georgetown Review, Natural Bridge, The Atlanta Review, The Cortland Review, storySouth, The Blue Fifth Review and others. He has a poem inscribed in a downtown Atlanta plaza, and his non-fiction work, Voices from The Farm, accounts of life on a spiritual community in the 1970s, is now available in paperback.  
 Writers’ Night Out takes place on the second Friday of each month and is open to the public. The event draws approximately 30 people from four counties. Mountain Perk Coffee House is located at 1390 Highway 76 East in Chatuge Harbor Plaza across from Towns County High School. Food, gourmet coffees and other refreshments are available for purchase. Each open microphone reader can sign up at the door and has two-and-a-half minutes to read.
            For more information, please contact Karen Holmes at (404) 316-8466 or kpaulholmes@gmail.com, or call Mountain Perk at (706) 896-0504.

Poets Glenda Barrett and Mary Ricketson will read their original poems at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Folk School on Feb.16th are two of the best you will hear, both authors with books in print: Mary Ricketson of Hanging Dog, NC ,  author of I Heard the River Call My Name  and Glenda Barrett of Hiawassee, Georgia, author of When the Sap Rises. Contact Program Coordinator Linda Smith
(828) 389-9849.

NC WRITERS NETWORK WEST  also offers to members only, two writing critique groups that meet once a month at Tri County Community College, one for poets and one for prose writers.