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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."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Barbara Groce moved to the mountains of North Georgia with her husband
Bill in1994. It was then and there she began to study and to practice poetry. 
Her poems have been published  in Pegasus, Wild Goose Poetry Review, 
Journal of the Kentucky State Poetry Society, and Reach of Song, the 
annual publication of the Georgia poetry Society. The poems here are 
reprinted with permission of the author and are from her recently published 
poetry collection titled The Dancing Years (Cardinal House Publishing


In the golden afternoon
of a summer day, I stood
on our front porch looking
at the cloud of dark gray smoke
rising from a hillside
about two miles from us.
I heard my husband softly say,
            Come here.”
In our back yard eighteen deer
stood motionless, and every head
was turned toward the hillside,
although our house obscured the view.
We had not heard a sound.
Our presence on the back porch
did not frighten them away
as it always did before.
In a few minutes they continued
toward the forest, their earth tones
becoming one with woodland hues.
Later we heard that four lives vanished
when their plane fell from the sky
into the hillside of a
hundred shades of green and
boundless yellow flowers
growing wild in the golden
afternoon of a summer day.                       

Scenes From a Walk

As the autumn day slipped away,
I thought of our old home and friends
felt a hint of loneliness, 
and decided to go for a stroll.
A walking stick eased the way
on the gravel road near our cabin.
Each step was an uneven scrunch
until I attained a rhythmic pace
attuned to the road and natures array.

Tinges of red and gold touched the trees.
Clumps of ragweed, yellow daisies,
and the last of Queen Anne’s lace
edged the curving roadway.
Yesterday’s rain erased the haze
and a feathery breeze arose
from an unblemished place,
danced with the leaves and caressed my face.

The roadside creek babbled and swirled, 
ever smoothing its age old rocks.
From a tall evergreen a screech owl called.
From the woods nearby came the repartee.
A Goldfinch alighted atop a thistle,
posed for a moment, then flitted from sight
beyond the red barn’s old roof top.

 On a distant hill a plume of smoke 
arose and drifted from
a small brush fire,
its aroma evoking childhood days
when we played in dirt and leaves
from morning until night,
embracing nature, a pleasant
earthy taste lingering long past sunset,
dinner and our bedtime pillow fights.

The sun dropped into an apricot sky
behind the farthest layer of hills.
Then the startling moo of a Beefalo
declared that he was heading for the barn,
the clang of his bell fading to naught.

In an instant the thought entered my mind.
Now this place is my home, too.

Want to buy a copy of Dancing Years?
Purchase from the author . 
$14.95 including shipping
Barbara Groce
PO Box 746
Morganton, Georgia 30569

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Let us  celebrate with Kathryn Stripling Byer who has

won the 2013 Southern Independent Booksellers 

Association Award for her poetry collection, Descent  (LSU Press, 2012).

Kathryn Stripling Byer is a major American poet. 
In 2012 she was an inductee to the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. She was the first woman to serve NC as Poet Laureate, and she held that position 
for five years.Presently Kathryn Stripling Byer serves as a trustee on the N.C. Writers Network Board of Trustees. She  has published six full-length collections of poetry and her individual poems have  appeared in many journals  and newspapers, including The AtlanticHudson ReviewBoston Globe, and Georgia Review.

Want to buy your very one copy of the SIBA Award Winning Book?http://www.citylightsnc.com/book/9780807147504


All of Kathryn Stripling Byer's books are sold at City Lights Book Store in Sylva, NC.

 by Kathryn Stripling Byer (Louisiana State University Press)

Navigating the dangerous currents of family and race, Kathryn Stripling Byer’s sixth poetry collection confronts the legacy of southern memory and landscape, where too often it's safer to stay blind.  --SIBA

Thursday, July 11, 2013



It's been a few moons, but I did remember the your request to send NC guidelines when they were available, and now it's time! Please read and spread the word!:

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VII: North Carolina


Editors William Wright, Jesse Graves, and Paul Ruffin now seek submissions for the seventh in our series, The Southern Poetry Anthology, featuring North Carolina poets. The anthology will be published by Texas Review Press in 2014.

If you are a North Carolina native, or if you have lived in North Carolina for more than one year, please feel free to send up to five poems for consideration. This anthology is not limited to those who have published before; we invite first-time submitters as well as those who have had full-length works of poetry published with national presses. The only rules: Poems must be original and of high quality.

We consider formal poems and free verse. Poems about North Carolina are not necessarily championed over other motifs and themes, as we wish for the "sense of place" to manifest in different ways, with different voices.

Please note that the success of this anthology depends a great deal on word of mouth. Notify your poetry students, poetry-writing friends, and gifted nemeses of this opportunity.

We encourage early submissions!


Please submit your poems electronically to Series Editor, William Wright, at vercimber@hotmail.com and Jesse Graves, Volume Co-editor at gravesj@mail.etsu.edu. Please type "North Carolina Poetry Submission" as your subject heading, then include your first and last names in parentheses. For example: North Carolina Poetry Submission (William Wright). Unfortunately, snail-mail submissions are not an option given the nature of our editing process.

Please include a short cover letter within the text of the e-mail, as well as the names of the poems submitted. Submit a maximum of five poems, and ensure that the poems are sent in .rtf (Rich Text Format), .doc (Word 1997-2003), or .docx (Word 2007, 2010, 2012, etc.) format. Please include all submitted poems in only one attachment (this is important).

All submissions should include a recent bio (up to 150 words) after the poems, on a separate page. Please italicize names of publications.

We welcome both new and previously published work. However, if poems have been previously published, submitters must hold rights to them and provide full publication data (journal and/or book publisher, title of book/journal if applicable, date of publication). Finally, please make sure that each submission includes a preferred e-mail address and street mailing address within the text of the e-mail and on at least one page of the attached submission.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to reading your work.

William Wright, Ph.D.
Contributing Editor, Shenandoah
Founding Editor, Town Creek Poetry

Monday, July 1, 2013


Living Above the Frost Line Celebrates Barbara Groce  as POET OF THE MONTH for the month of July 2013.

Barbara's poems have been published widely in magazines such as PegasusJournal of the Kentucky State Poetry Society, Reach os Song and Wild Goose Poetry Review. She has three  published collections of poetry, most recently The Dancing Years from Cardinal House Publishing, (2012) Nashville, Tennessee .

Barbara Groce was born in St. Charles, West Virginia and moved to Eastern North Carolina at age nine. She  graduated from the University of NC at Greensboro, earned a Master of Education from East Carolina University and taught in the NC School System in Charlotte. She lives now with her husband Bill in Morganton, Georgia.

Upon moving to  the North Georgia mountains in 1994, Barbara Groce  turned to poetry as an outlet  for childhood and lifetime memories pressing for release. She attended a number of writer's conferences and  seminars and studied with Gene Hirsch, Nancy Simpson, and Ellie Dodson. Most recently she studied with Pulitzer Prize nominee  Stellasue Lee. Barbara is a member of the Georgia Poetry Society, North Carolina Writers network, The Kentucky State Poetry  Society, Shallow Enders and other local writer groups. 

Barbara's poems are reprinted here with her permission and are from The Dancing Years.

                         Hills of Virginia

The coal train, its whistle a haunting wail,
     each car piled high with shiny black,
clickety clack, day and night chugged along the rail.

The miners streamed from carbon into gloam,
     voices low, hats with lights, tin lunch pails,
tired eyes, hunching backs, faces black, trudging on to home.

In heavy rain the creek became a roaring
     Mountain Lion. Trees, tables, chairs
or outhouses washed away,
     back in those hills of Virginia.

Rockers creaking, knives a’ whittling, kin folks
     spun tales of old in their dialect,
and lulled the children all to peace with the stories told.

Feet on wood floors, tapping, dancing, clogging,
     set to bluegrass music, young and old’s delight,
resounded through the hollows, livened up the night.

Ever smoothing her ancient rocks, the river’s
    roar filled up the soul, her peaceful pools
became the young folks’ all time favorite swimming holes,
     back in those hills of Virginia.

In a sea of green sat the steepled church,
     fresh-white, where hymns rang out, twangy, sweet
and dinner on the ground lingered on untill twilight.

Fingers flew, needle and thread whished away
     through myriads of cloth...a quilting bee,
where scraps emerged as masterworks of stitchery.

Nestled in the valley’s point, the farthest,
     that little town, now ghost, was once alive
where plain folks led simple lives, lived them to the fullest,
     way, way back in those haunting hills of Virginia.

            See Bobby Run

On the hill behind Grandma’s house
the gentle wind of spring whispered
through the greening trees
as a gang of us cousins searched
for budding flowers, heart shaped
rocks, weeds never seen before.

From the corner of my eye, I saw
my brother Bobby walking down the hill
toward the house, picking up speed
faster and faster with each step.
Grandma and five aunts flew
from their rocking chairs, calling, “Stop! Stop!”
to him, but too late because
he reached the pace of a race horse,
did a flip and landed on his back.
“I don’t have anything broken,” he said.

“You scared us half to death,”
they kept saying
the rest of the afternoon as Bobby
sat on the porch with them
eating his fill of vanilla ice cream.

                        Present Past

My Grandmother Liz

could square dance and two step
better than anyone else in Pike County.
She smiled at every partner,
but told me only one of them
caused her heart to soar.
She saw him last waving good-by
from the steps of the train
that steamed into the great World War.

She moves with grace at eighty-five,
but has not danced since she was young.
She naps in the old rocking chair,
a quilt in progress on her lap,
her skin fine and crinkled
as a page from our Bible,
eyes the same blue as veins
in her hands-those hands which
raised six children, coddled my Grandpa,
a miner, who drank and gambled
away what was theirs.

I know she dreams of dancing years,
fiddler’s songs and two strong arms.
Drops roll from her eyes, down her face,
fall into the folds of the quilt,
and become part of it, like her life,
filled with stitches and tears.

first published in
Wild Goose Poetry Review

            Live the Moment

We delight in love and youth.
Savor it and live the thrill.
Spice up your life with vermouth.
Don’t let your days stand still.

Savor it and live the thrill.
Don’t miss a dance of chance to sing.
Don’t let your days stand still.
Don’t let anyone clip your wings.

Don’t miss a dance or chance to sing.
Give and get kisses and hugs.
Don’t let anyone clip your wings.
Kick up your heels and cut a rug.

Give and get kisses and hugs.
Don’t let anyone spoil your day.
Kick up your heels and cut a rug.
Remember to laugh, enjoy your play.

Feed your sweet tooth, plant daffodils.
Spice up your life with sweet vermouth.
After a while its all downhill.
We delight in love and youth.

I first met Barbara as an accomplished poet
at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.
I saw her immediately  as dedicated to the practice
of poetry. I recommend you buy her book.

All of these poems are from The Dancing Years.
If you liked them, please leave a comment or
send Barbara a message.

"Poems of Memory and Medaphor, Dancing Years stands as a memorial to a woman's lifetime in the south. Unblinking, these poems seem to see all and hide from nothing." --Scott Owen

Want to buy a copy of Dancing Years?
Purchase from the author . 
$14.95 including shipping
Barbara Groce
PO Box 746
Morganton, Georgia 30569