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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, December 3, 2014


POET OF THE MONTH OF DECEMBER 2014

LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE CELEBRATES THE LIFE AND POETRY OF Educator and Poet BETTY JAMERSON REED. Read three of her poems below.

Poet Betty Jamerson Reed, a native of Western North Carolina, is a retired educator. She is most known for being the author of  two books documenting the history of segregated black schools: The Brevard Rosenwald School: Education and Community Building in a Southern Appalachian Town, 1920-1966 (McFarland, 2004) (Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies) and School Segregation in Western North Carolina: A History , 1860s - 1970s (McFarland 2011) (Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies). 

LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE  celebrates Poet and Educator Reed with three of her published poems. (read below) She also writes fiction. Currently she is completing a  novella based on a Civil War scenario and is completing a nonfiction study of three Appalachian educators. 

Other than creative writing, her interests center on family, especially her eight grandchildren, historical research, volunteerism, and Christian missions. A member of NCWN West, she is also active in other writing groups, and she encourages other writers. 

Three Poems by Betty Jamerson Reed

I WON'T CRY

I won't cry,
Daddy's job's gone. The place he worked shut down.
"It's closed its doors," he said. "Our jobs are overseas."
Mommy said, "Where's the money gonna' come from?"
But the money ain't comin' 'cept once in a while.
We get Food Stamps and we're not hungry, 'cept for sweets.
So I won't cry.
We know the bank's gonna take our house.
Daddy says it ain't no great loss, but where'll we live?
Maybe we can go to Grandma's, but that's a long way off
And Daddy says there ain't no jobs there.
Don't know where we'll go.
But I won't cry.
The bottoms of my shoes have holes;
heels are off.
Mommy cut up cardboard shaped like my feet
and put inside.
I can't feel the nails now.
My clothes are gettin' too tight.
Maybe there's somethin' my size at Sharin' House.
I really want a bigger pair of jeans, shoes that fit.
Still I won't cry.
Daddy sold our trampoline and the TV.
"Every little bit helps," he said.
I sure miss watchin' cartoons.
Mommy said, "Sell my rings"...but Daddy won't do that.
He says better days are comin'.
I hope so, but no matter. I won't cry.
I just won't cry.

Published in Lucidity Poetry Journal, Winter 2008, p. 51 and
in Echoes Across the Blue Ridge: Stories, Essays and Poems,
 Ed. Nancy Simpson, 2010, p. 200.

Country Living

Daddy's drunk -- got a Mason jar of moonshine.
Sez Hyder brews good stuff.
Even those profs in Cullowhee make their own.
Daddy's drunk -- throwing chairs, breaking windows,
But he'll sleep it off.

Mom's smoking pot -- makes her happy.
Curses under her breath -- listening to copters
searching for plants on forest land,
grows her own weed -- not for sale.
But she'll sleep it off.

Tim's brain's fried, built his own meth lab
'cause his buddies said it's cheap, makes you high.
But he sees the law watching him, or thinks he sees.
He's scared and he hurts and life ain't worth livin'
And he can't sleep it off.

So how's country living, with crops failing
and debts piling high?
Everybody needs a beer to take the edge off,
just drowning in a sea of trouble,
and we wish we could sleep it off.

Published in Lucidity Poetry Journal, Summer 2011, p. 16.


An Octogenarian Ponders

Troubled nights prolonged;
days cut short.
My friends' lives--succinctly--
summarized
on headstones: name, dates
of birth, demise--
     drown my spirit's glee.
Time's threads, tangled with
gloom and sadness,
     halt my laughter and
speed the tears.
But memory rebels
and chooses joy!
     Joy, defiant, looks to
God for victory.
Advanced in age, daring to
reject grief's sorrow and pain,
my heart whispers
"There is no death.
Life, renewed in a distant
     garden, reverberates
    as  rich melodies echo
    from an angel choir."
There my friends, in bodies
of radiant glory,
await my coming, and with
that grand reunion
all curfews end. 

Reprinted with permission from Bereavement Publications, Inc., Living With Loss™, first published in Living With Loss™ Magazine, Summer 2011, page 23, 888.604.4673, livingwithloss.com.

Please leave a comment. Your comment will be appreciated.



1 comment:

Joan Ellen Gage said...

Thank you for sharing Betty poems. Her poems are very insightful.