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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."

Friday, May 23, 2014


CONGLAVE: A JOURNAL OF CHARACTER is open for submissions for Issue 8 - Autumn, 2014 death, candy, costumes, leaves, pumpkins, ghosts, whatever halloween means to you. Conclave is a bi-annual print journal that focuses on character-driven.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014


NC Writers Network West's Writing Conference in  Sylva, NC on May 10th turned out to be the most fulfilling writing event of year 2014 for me. Best of all was seeing and visiting with long-time, treasured writing friends.  It was indeed restorative for me to spend time with my writing friends and to share with fellow poets some of the secrets of how we can build a readership for our poetry. It was a joy for me to share discussion time with Kathryn Stripling Byer. A family member remarked at how I came home with a spring in my step.

Kathryn Stripling Byer, NC Poet Laureate Emertia

For a long time, NCWN West has hoped to establish an annual writing conference and that goal was approved two years ago by NCWN Executive Director Ed Southern. NCWN West Program Director Ellen Schofield coordinated this event with the help of Kathryn Stripling Byer and Newton Smith, Jackson County's Netwest Representatives who hosted the event held at the historic  Jackson  County Courthouse Complex and also with the help of former Program Director Glenda Beall, Gay Moring, J C Walkup, Linda M. Smith,  Joan Howard and Lana Hendershott.

Kathryn Stripling Byer, NC Poet Laureate Emertia and NC Writers Network West Program Coordinator Ellen Schofield

JC Walkup, long time  NCWN member from Haywood County, author of new novel Partners and  William Everett, author of seven books and many articles  in English and German on ethical issues in Religion and Society, who taught ethics many years in theological seminaries and graduate schools.

Poet and long time member of NCWN West Dr. Gene Hirsch and his wife Ginny, residents of Pittsburg, PA and Cherokee County North Carolina. Gene Hirsch joined Netwest only two years after it began and he established NCWN West's  first monthly critique group for both poets and writers that still continues to meet monthly 21 years later. 

It is true I did return home with a spring in my step and with deep appreciation in my heart  for all of those who worked to coordinate such a day of inspiration
for our writers. Some of the  mountain writers do sometimes feel we are far from the writing centers of our country, even far from the writing centers of our our own state.  NCWN West has worked hard to promote writing and to serve our writers for over 23 years now. 

I want to assure you, I also returned home with a deep feeling that I too was appreciated, carrying in my arms an exotic multi-blooming purple orchid, which was presented to me as ( they said as founder of NCWN West). Those who know me know that I  always say and will always say "I am a co founder." I still deeply appreciate the guidance of then NCWN Executive Director Marsha Warren who defined the best of what NCWN West would become and  Debbie McGill then NC Arts Council Literary Director in Raleigh who organized our first meetings and ultimately got us mountain writer invited to the NCWN Fall Conference in 1991 and got us connected to NCWN. I honor Kathryn Stripling Byer as a cofounder because she signed and sent the first letter to invite the mountain writers to meet in Jackson County when Debbie McGill came out to the mountains to meet with us, and thus brought us all together for that first  meeting. How could I say no to "having dinner in Sylva with Debbie McGill when I had just received the NC Artist Fellowship for Poetry from her. I admit I did not know what I was getting myself into. Some months later, Kathryn and I were the  two members there in the room at the NCWN fall Conference when Marsha Warren and then President Anthony Abbott invited us to bring the mountain writers in as a special program under the umbrella of NCWN. This is the true account of how and when NCWN West began. Kathryn Stripling Byer has served as consultant to NCWN West from the beginning and served one year as Program Coordinator when our PC Glenda Beall had to resign during her husband's illness. That was a crucial year, as some of you remember well, because it was at the very time we were bringing our our second anthology --Echoes Across the Blue Ridge. It was the sale of that  anthology that now affords NCWN West the opportunity to hold regular writing events here in the far western NC mountains.  At the time Kathryn Stripling Byer served as P.C. she gave invaluable service in getting an introduction written by Robert Morgan and also got the best blurbs from renowned authors for the back book cover. Many times through the past 23 years I confessed and still say that I will never do much of anything related to poetry without first consulting with Kathryn Stripling Byer.

My orchid is the most beautiful flower I have ever seen. I am determined to keep it alive. If you have any inside knowledge of how to care for an orchid, please let me know as soon as possible.

Back home now, more than a week later,  I am still thinking about that very special day. I want to remind the poets who attended our discussion about  "Building a Readership for Your Poetry, " that my offer still stands to reprint some of your poems on this blog. Send 3-5 already published poems ( giving credit to the place it was first published) with your photo and a brief bio.
(nance@dnet.net) This is in keeping with the idea of getting your poems out there and keeping them out there in print, the old poems as well as the newly written ones.   Also, in the future, I am working to get this site revamped. I need more readers and more comments. In return, each week, I plan to give a listing of five open markets looking for poems. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Clay County Poetry Contest --IT'S A TIE for FIRST PLACE

Clay County Historical and Art Council in Hayesville, North Carolina recently announced the winners of their 23 Annual adult Poetry Contest which is open each year to practicing poets who reside in Clay County, North Carolina. This year's poetry judge Nancy Simpson found it impossible to name a winner among the top two finalists. Two poets were named in a tie for first place --left to right--Linda Grayson Jones and Kimberly Chastain at an Evening of Art and Poetry held at Hayesville High School Lecture Hall on April 22, 2014.

Dr. Linda G. Jones, Associate Professor of Biology,Dean of the Division of Mathematics and Science at Young Harris College.

She joined the faculty of Young Harris College in 2009 and teaches human anatomy and physiology, animal physiology, comparative anatomy, developmental biology and various seminar courses. She earned her B.S. in biology from Stetson University, and both her M.A. in biology and Ph.D. in pathology from Vanderbilt University. She completed her postdoctoral studies in pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego.
She won First Place for her poem "The Bloody Pond Shiloh April 6-7, 1862"

Kimberly Chastain writes almost exclusively of her home in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. She teaches English at Hayesville Middle School. She won First Place for her poem, "High Fields."

Second Place went to Rana Williams ( not pictured) for her poem 
"To Mother Nature."

Third Place went to Dorothy James (not pictured) for her poem 
"The Church on the Deck.

Alice Andrews received Honorable Mention for her poem "I Don't Remember."
Poetry Contest Judge Nancy Simpson was present at the award ceremony, and she read a  selection of her mountain poems from her most recent book, LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE New and Selected Poems published at Carolina Wren Press in Durham,NC.



The Clay County Historical and Arts Council in Hayesville, Clay County, North Carolina, honored young poets on April 22 at an evening of art and poetry. The event was held at the Hayesville High School Lecture Hall and the auditorium was filled with an appreciative audience. Contests Winners read their winning poems which were judged by Poet Nancy Simpson. They received their awards and a reception was held in their honor.

 Left to right: 2nd Place Winner Junior Misty Morin, First Place Winner Senior Alexis Chastain and  3rd Place winner Honors English Freshman Seth Hatherly. You can read their winning poems below.


Alexis Chastain won first place for her poem "Amnesia."


Small talk of Politics, Weather, and Sports drive the tiresome conversations.
Sometimes, I believe my friends are just imaginary,
a mirage designed by intense loneliness;
a hallucination of fairy-tail proportions.

Friends seem to come and go more than summer storms.
For a moment they are your whole world until they
let you down and you just keep falling further and further
until you hit rock bottom.

For a while you sit there in the bottom of a dark hole
looking upwards, trying to remember what the sky looked like
and how the birds used to sing.
And while you are in this black gloomy abyss you begin to forget.
You try to forget the deception and the betrayal of Judas-like friends.
You try to recover from the psychological wounds inflicted by back-stabbers.

Then one day you wake up and you see the sky.
Oh the blissful ignorance of amnesia.
Maybe, just maybe, one day, I will forget the black hole entirely
because of the light, the light of a new day, of new friends and loved ones.

Misty Morin


Our generation has already been labeled
   as selfish, incompetent, and greedy
      before we even had a chance
         to mend what is broken.

They expect so much
   but give us so little;
      textbooks and exams
         have never been teachers.

We can solve an equation
   and find an error in a piece of literature,
          but can we recognize the faults
             in those who have raised us?  

The truth is that we care too much
   but we have been taught to hide our fears
      with a mask of apathy
         or pretend that we do not see.

Our generation has already been labeled
   as the hope for the future
      before the mudslingers have even dared
         to lift a finger to fix it themselves.


Seth Hatherly


Everywhere I look, all people do it fight.
Most of the time, it's behind a computer screen's light.
Bullies attack people every day at school.
And they use school media as a tool.
They target the kindest soul,
And pick on them until they've taken their toll.
Sometimes it's more than a simple punch;
Taking words is just too much.
The victim thinks it's pointless now,
And he leaves the stage without taking a bow.
Things like this happen on a constant basis.
The victims try not to let it show on their faces.
Some victims are so scared, all they do is sit in the dark
Thinking change will never get a spark.

We say that bullying needs to end,
But never actually give a hand to extend
To the victims of this crime
Because we're busy on our own time.
Commercials and ads aren't enough. 
They do not make this problem any less tough.
I hope one day Bullying will end,
And being kind is a new daily trend.
Let's work together to get rid of this situation
To be one step closer to a perfect nation.


Mrs. Carla Beck, Honors English Teacher was recognized by
the Clay County Historical and Arts Council for encouraging
her students and for her active support of the annual poetry contest
at Hayesville High School. She had the most students who
entered poems in the poetry contest.

Mrs. Carla Beck and poetry judge Nancy Simpson Brantley
shared a moment of reunion as student and teacher with 
Ms. Simpson Brantley years ago being Carla Beck's home room 
teacher the year she first entered Hayesville Schools.