About Me

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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, May 29, 2013


(a note from Scott Owen)

Hi, All, 
I'm very excited to be coming back up to the mountains to participate in Writers' Night Out on June 14 and lead a workshop at The Writers' Circle on June 15.  I hope you'll be able to join me for both events.

I'll be reading at Writers' Night Out at Brother's Willow Ranch Restaurant in Young Harris on June 14 at 7:00.  I'll have my new Selected Poems CD and copies of all of my books, including the newest, Shadows Trail Them Home from Clemson University Press; For One Who Knows How to Own Land from FutureCycle Press; and Something Knows the Moment (a Next Generation-Indie Lit Book Award finalist) from Main Street Rag available for purchase and signing.

Then, on Saturday morning (June 15), from 10 to 1, I'll lead a workshop called "The Essential Practices of Writing" which will focus on four habits all writers need to foster.  The workshop will include invention strategies and revision, but I will discuss any aspect of writing that participants are interested in.  If you'll be at the workshop, email me a question or topic ahead of time, and I'll be sure to cover it.  You're also welcome to email me a poem for possible use in discussing approaches to revision. This is my third workshop with The Writers' Circle, and every time I have discovered new poets I like as well as poems I want to include in Wild Goose Poetry Review, so I'm looking forward to seeing what discoveries I can make this time.

Register for this class by sending a check for $40.00 to Writers Circle, 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC 28904
Please spread the news about these two events by forwarding this email to anyone you know who might or should be interested or by posting information about it on any social network you participate in.


Scott Owens

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cicadas Returning

On Saturday morning, May 25th as soon as I stepped outside my door, heard and recognized their sound as if it were a high-pitched electronic buzz,  I knew millions of screaming cicadas had returned after 17 years to the tree tops of Cherry Mountain. Say again, where have they been for 17 years? Not dead but hunkered down under the earth at the  base of the same trees we look at day after day, year after year. The nymphs woke up, and now they're adults, climbing the trees, ready to mate. 
Magicicada Septendecim, sometimes called "the pharaoh cicada"  is a two inch insect of Brood II of the eastern US, found in New York from Albany and western Connecticut down through the Appalachian Mountains into the piedmont of Georgia.  Broods are identified by region, by cycle length of 13 or 17 years, and the years in which they appear. They are a large insect with a black head, red eye, and they have the longest life span of any other insect. These now on Cherry Mountain  are not the annual cicada that come out in late summer every year. This Brood II rises only after their 17 year hiatus. By June 30th, they will go silent again. 

The first time I heard the cicadas was when I moved to Cherry Mountain in the 1960s. I stopped at the foot of the mountain to get my mail out of  my mailbox, and there stood  Preacher Cable, pointing up and saying "The locust are back now screaming Pharaoh. Pharaoh." I could not get that song out of my head. Over the next few weeks, I wrote the poem  posted below, "Cicadas Returning."

Cicadas Returning
by Nancy Simpson

My neighbor waits
at the mailbox

for no other reason
than to tell me

they are back now
screaming Pharaoh, Pharaoh.

He asks if I know
they speak

a language of resurrection.
I say I don’t know anything

about Cicadas except
I’ve read they live

most of their lives
under the ground.

He says I should stop 
at the switch back

if I want to hear them.
I thank him for telling me


but I care little
about insects,

so I stop against my will,
turn off the truck motor

and stand alone on the
lower mountain curve, listening,

curious about any creature dead
all those years with so much life.

Ten thousand of the little 
big-eyed gods crowd my day,

joyous at high pitch:
Pharaoh, Pharaoh.
There will be none homeless
and plenty of food for all--

the lush green leaves of my trees,
enough to feed an army.


Come to their senses
they fly


their small stomachs

again and again
the same verse

ten thousand voices
retuning, yes

memory of the song
played for me

through treetops

and I am going
down the road, singing.   

--Nancy Simpson This first published in Wayah Review
at Carolina Wren Press (2010)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Flame Azaleas grow wild  in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Flame azaleas come in varying shades of orange, deep orange to a more yellow-orange. These (below) grow and bloom in the dense woods on Cherry Mountain.

We also have a pink wild azalea (below) that was transplanted to Cherry Mountain from the wild of Rocky Face Mountain in Dalton, Georgia in the late 1960s. 

Flame Azalea can grow as tall as a tree, as this one photographed recently on Mother's Day at Hamilton Gardens on Lake Chatuge near Hiawassee, Georgia.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Poet Bettie M. Sellers 1926-2013

Poet Laureate Bettie M. Sellers of Young Harris, Georgia died in Hayesville, NC on the evening of May 17, 2013.  A memorial service will be held in her honor at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 20th at Sharp Memorial Methodist Church in Young Harris, GA.

Bettie M. Sellers was named Author of the Year in 1979 by the Dixie Council of Authors and JournalistsShe received the Governor's Award in the Humanities in 1987 and in 1992 was named Poet of the Year by the American Pen Women. In 1997 Governor Zell Miller named Sellers as the poet laureate of Georgia, a position she held for three years. In 2003 she received the Stanley W. Lindberg Award (named for longtime Georgia Review editor Stanley Lindberg), which recognizes outstanding contributions to Georgia's literary culture. The Georgia Writers Association gave Sellers a lifetime achievement award in 2004.

More About Bettie M. Sellers: Search this site: Bettie M. Sellers was featured as Poet of the Month March 1, 2009 during her birth month. Also search for The Poet Looks Up, Three Poems  on this site.
"The Ruby Glass Spoonholder" a laureate poem by Bettie M. Sellers on this site. 

  Books by Bettie M. Sellers: Westward From Bald Mountain, Spring Onions and Cornbread (1978), Liza'a Monday and Other Poems (1986),Wild Ginger (1989), Reprinted  (2006),  and Morning of the Red Tailed Hawk (1987).


Thursday, May 2, 2013

REVIEW OF BEAT CHRONIC PAIN BOOK written by Maren O. Mitchell

Maren O. Mitchell’s Beat Chronic Pain -- An Insider’s Guide offers her reader this specific hope -- Return to Your Life: Ways to Confront and Relieve Pain Through Avenues Other Than Drugs. Another title for this book could have been How To Ignore Pain.
The book spoke strongest to me when I read these words:  “How to deal with the 
enemy--(Pain) Ignore him--write him out of your life.”  Maren O. Mitchell‘s positive approach is practical as well as intensely personal. She promises, “Pain does not take well to being laughed at.  When ignored, “It sort of shrinks up and slowly slinks away.” 

There are in this book a number of specific activities for beating pain. One suggestion is to practice an imaging exercise. You are told to remember “a place and a time when you were stress free, pain free, healthy and strong, safe, loved, happy. Go there and gather images, colors, textures, movement” and more. “Savor the pleasure of being there” and “let your time there give you happiness right now.” See exact instructions on pages 67-71.  The author admits her “favorite place to imagine and travel to is “a two room cabin....that my father built beside a stream in North Carolina.”

I enjoyed reading this book and liked knowing Maren O. Mitchell is a writer and a practicing poet who writes to ignore her pain. A number of her poems are sprinkled throughout the book. Her poems have been also published in some of the best American literary magazines such as Southern Humanities Review, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Wild Goose Poetry Review, and in the anthologies, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge and Sunrise From Blue Thunder.

The different approaches that this author offers to help you ignore pain are valuable.  I understand that a person who wants to beat chronic pain does not have to write poems to get relief. That is not the point. Practicing imagery,(which is a technique of poetry)  going back in memory to a favorite place, has been proven to relieve pain, even if you do not write it. During imagery, your mind stays busy for a period of time, for minutes even hours, allowing you to ignore your pain.

If you suffer from chronic pain or you love someone who does, I encourage you to buy this book, read it, find solutions to use and to share.

Book Review written by Nancy Simpson

How to order

Line of Sight Press
PO Box 1103 
Young Harris, Georgia 30582