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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, May 17, 2014


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.


Glenda C. Beall said...

I really enjoyed hearing the students read their poems. Such strong ideas and honesty in their work.
I am happy you posted this article and the photos, Nancy. We should share more work by young writers and poets. They have some important things to say.

Nancy Simpson said...

Thanks Glenda. I agree we need to hear from young poets more. I was amazed by the depth of their perception about life at this time in America. Their poems all focused on human topics, one on hunger, one on bullying, several on their faith in God. One very good one that won first place in the middle school contest was "Staying the Course" built on the metaphor of self as tree written by 12 year old Clara Hendrix.