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."

Friday, November 27, 2015

Calling for poems about a Craft such as carving or pottery.

Do you have  or has one of your local writer friends ever written a poem about some craft( carving, pottery or such)? I am starting to put together an exhibit for the museum next year and thought a poem like this would be a nice add on. The theme of the exhibit is Our Heritage our crafts.

Message from Mollie Sellers Robinson Seaver at Clay County Historical Arts Museum in Hayesville. Call Nancy Simpson for more information.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Memorial Poetry Reading for Eugene Ellis

Thursday, November 19 at 7:30 pm

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Please join us in a celebration of the life of Eugene Ellis, a longstanding member of the Callanwolde poetry committee, who died on October 21, 2015. The event will include friends and fellow poets reading a selection of his poems as well as poems written in his honor. 
An informal reception with refreshments will follow the reading.

For over 30 years Gene Ellis was among the coordinators of the Poetry at Callanwolde reading series. In addition to scheduling and hosting monthly readings by mostly Georgia poets, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s he organized summer workshops and conferences which brought to Atlanta many distinguished American and British poets including Howard Nemerov, Anthony Hecht, Paul Muldoon, Philip Levine, Alice Walker, James Merrill and Adrienne Rich.

The reading will be held in the library which is on the first floor of the mansion. The Callanwold
e Fine Arts Center is located at 980 Briarcliff Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306. The event is free and open to the public. For more information please email Ruth Windham at ruth.windham@gmail.com.

If you would like to receive a free copy of Alewives: Selected Poems by Eugene V. Ellis, please emailruth.windham@gmail.com with your mailing address. This book is being reprinted by Kudzu Editions with a new introduction and will be available in December.


This is for my fiction writing friends and students of writing. It is a quote from Nancy Peacock that rang loud and clear as true in my mind while working on my novel in process. 

"A good storyteller can go beyond the limitations of self. That's the point. That's the magic. It always begins with that relationship between author and character. That's who I write for, the character.
Naturally, I hope other people read my stories, and like them, but I don't write for those people. I don't write for them, or a marketplace, or what's hot, or a professor, or an editor, or agent. I write for my characters.
Have I honored them? Did I tell their story? Were we in the journey together? Did I listen to their guidance?
If yes, then I've succeeded."  --Nancy Peacock

Friday, November 6, 2015


Carole Thompson recently received the 2nd place POETRY award for  REACH OF SONG. Enjoy her poem, "ANTIQUING." It is a winner.


My eyes were drawn to a battered old basin.
Despite a chip in the enamel, my hands
felt comfort in the patina, much like the
surface of my grandmother’s claw foot tub.
Often, I rested against that perfect slope,
up to my chin in Ivory Soap suds.

In such a basin, a woman might snap beans,
slice cucumbers for pickling, or shuck corn.
In summer, Mother filled her basin high
with ripe berries to wash and “pick over.”
In time, jars of jam and jelly sparkled
from oilcloth lined shelves.

The basin rode home with me, beside
a flour sifter and small iron skillet.
 Driving in silence, from deep my memory,
a scene emerged , clear as the road before me:
A country kitchen, sink with hand pump,
woodstove nearby, kettle steaming on top.

A young man, stripped to his jeans, stands
by a table washing sweat and grime from
face and arms.  A young girl drinks coffee
with his mother at the kitchen table nearby.

’Come wash my back ?
 He grins, tossing the girl a cloth.
She shyly takes it, glancing quickly
at the mother, who nods her head, smiling.
Dipping into the basin, the girl begins washing
the strong, bronzed back, feeling his heat.
smelling his skin.

Her young face reflects a purity of emotion,
the total loss of self, that painful joy,
the first rending of the heart.

(definitive final copy)
--Carole Thompson 

 Carole Richard Thompson lives in the north Georgia Mountains with her husband Norm. Her poems have been published widely in the south. She is the author of a full length poetry collection from FutureCycle Press titled ENOUGH.

Carole Richard Thompson under the POET TREE at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Eugene Vincent Ellis, an architect, pianist, composer and poet, died at home under hospice care at the age of 83 on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. He was one of the founding fathers of the Poetry at Callanwolde reading series at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta.

 Here is one of his poems, which appeared in the first issue ofCalamaro Magazine.

We dance in a widening ring around this tower
Under the fading light from a minor star;
All reason is suspended in this hour.
The ancient harpers and the dancers here
Sing foreign incantations and intone
Strange litanies unto their demon gods;
And I should be contented if but one
Could see and sing to me in mine own tongue.
(originally appeared in his poetry volume ALEWIVES: SELECTED POEMS, published by

Kudzu Editions in 2013)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Come to WRITERS' NIGHT OUT 6:00 p.m. Friday Night

Writers’ Night Out, takes place at the Union CountyCommunity Center in Blairsville, GA on Friday evening.

A real treat this Friday night is having national award-winning poet Scott Owens join us from Hickory, NC. His readings never disappoint. We're also lucky to have our own Glenda Beall entertain us with her delightful poetry and stories. 

Dinner or refreshment is available at The View Grill next door to the ballroom. The food is reasonably priced and yummy, but please allow lots of time to be served. Arrive by 6 pm or before, if possible. There's a deck with a fabulous view of the golf course and mountains. You can also bring food/drink into the ballroom from the grill. 

Optional dinner at The View Grill: 6 pm or earlier
Gather in ballroom: 7 pm
Featured reade:r 7:15, followed by open mic

Scott will also teach one of his terrific poetry workshops at Writers Circle on Saturday. For more information, see http://glendacouncilbeall.blogspot.com/

Attached is a WNO flyer for you to post -- please take one to your church, library, college, etc. if possible. I appreciate any and all efforts to get the word out. Please forward this email too if you have friends who might enjoy this fun evening. 

See you there! 

Karen Paul Holmes

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

 This month we are happy to have Janice Townley Moore as featured reader at Coffee with the Poets and Writers at Joe’s Coffee House, 82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC. We meet at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 12.
Janice facilitates the NCWN-West Poetry Critique group that meets monthly at Tri-County College in Murphy, NC. An Atlanta native, Janice recently retired from Young Harris College in Georgia where she was a professor of English for many years. Moore taught creative writing and poetry at YHC, and her special areas of interest include contemporary poetry and Southern literature.

In addition to her teaching duties, she was chair of the YHC Humanities Division for eight years and served 12 years as poetry editor for the Georgia Journal, Moore claimed first prize in the 2009 Press 53 Open Awards and was awarded first place in the Georgia Poetry Society's annual competition in 2011.
Her work has appeared in more than 60 esteemed journals, anthologies and textbooks, including The Georgia Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Contemporary Appalachia, Contemporary Georgia Poets, Women Writing in Appalachia and the Southern Poetry Review.
Janice Moore is author of Teaching the Robins, a poetry chapbook, published by Finishing Line Press in 2005. She is co-author of Like a Summer Peach, a great little book of recipes and poems.
Coffee with the Poets and Writers includes an Open Mic session. This is open to the public and anyone with an original poem or short prose piece is welcome to share it. We ask that prose pieces be no longer than 1500 – 1800 words.
Joe’s Coffee House is known for various kinds of coffee and tea. Water, soft drinks and bagels are available as well. Plan to stay for lunch with us at Angelo’s across the street. We want to get to know you.
Call Glenda  Beall 828-389-4441 or glendabeall@msn.com for more information

Glenda Council Beall
Clay County Representative for NCWN West


Chemical fragrances, scented products, perfume and cologne can be harmful to our health. Please do not wear them to classes I teach or to classes at my studio, Writers Circle around the Table. Your thoughtfulness is appreciated. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015


NC Writers Network West - updated July info for writers  interested in joining the NCWN West monthly poetry critique group. Also info about WRITERS NIGHT OUT, Join other writers, eat out and read your poems in the open mic reading.

Posted: 30 Jun 2015 08:21 PM PDT
The NC Writers' Network-West Poetry critique group facilitated by Janice Moore will not be held at Tri-County College in Murphy this month -July. The college is closed for the holidays. The group will meet, however, at the Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville, NC at 6:00 p.m. Anyone who has trouble with steps  can enter at the end of the library across from the Post Office.  Observers are welcome. 
Posted: 30 Jun 2015 05:28 PM PDT
Husband and wife writers, Jo Carolyn and John Beebe, will entertain the audience with their fiction, poetry, and memoir.        An open microphone follows their reading for those who’d like to share their own writing. Writers’ Night Out, takes place at the Union CountyCommunity Center in Blairsville, GA on Friday evening, July 10. The event is free and open to the public. Food and drinks 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Living Above the Frost Line: MATRIARCH, PATRIARCH and The Family

Living Above the Frost Line: MATRIARCH, PATRIARCH and The Family

CLICK TO SEE ORIGINAL POST AND these amazing trees

Here in the southern Appalachian mountains, we have endured two brutal winters and before that, some years of drought. It is with sadness I tell you that those beautiful trees on the old Flemming/McConnell property at the foot of Cherry Mountain that I named "Matriarch" and "Patriarch" have died and fallen. It breaks my heart to drive past chunks of their bodies scattered around. The  younger trees are still there and still growing.


On June 10, 2015, poets from  Hayesville and Murphy, NC and poets from the north Georgia Mountains met at JOE's for their monthly gathering of COFFEE WITH THE POETS.  This monthly event is sponsored by North Carolina Writers' Network West, a 23 year old professional writing organization.

Mary Ricketson (left)is the author of two poetry collections: I Heard the River Call My Name ( Finishing Line Press) and Hanging Dog Creek ( FutureCycle Press).

Joan Ellen Gage (right) is the author of three collections: Embracing You Inner Cheerleader, Water Running Downhill and new off the press, A Redhead looks at Sixty.

"Personally, I would add that this was one
of the best poetry readings I've been
attended in quite a while,  with a wide 
range of topics, some most serious 
and most crushing, and others filled with 
joy and humor so that listeners shed a tear 
or two and  then later laughed until our 
tummies hurt. When it was over, each of us 
knew again what it is like to feel fully human."
--Nancy Simpson

And there was a surprise visit from 
Hayesville Mayor Harry Baughn. 

Coffee With the Poets was founded by Glenda Beall during her tenure as NCWN West Program Coordinator. Contact her for more information about
writing  events in the western NC mountains.http://www.ncwriters-west.org/

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Call for Poems, Essays and Stories by Women Writers Living in Western NC

Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham issuing…
A call for entries for our fourth (and final?) anthology of WNC women writers
It’s All Relative!
Family Noir or Family Extraordinaire
Send us your very best stories, essays, and poems—real or imagined, whichever is your bent…
We’re looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly—with emphasis of the ugly, the strange, the odd, the quirky, the peculiar—even the extraordinary, the  hilarious, the supernatural.
Dig deep. Go “underground.” But please submit your very best, most creative, well-edited work.
General guidelines:
Deadline: June 1. We are aiming for a fall “launch.”
Short is better—2000 words the absolute word limit—and no more than forty contributors
Send in Word doc or docx or rtf only. If we can’t open it easily, we won’t read it.
Use Times New Roman, 12 point font, double space, with one inch margins.
Previously published material is fine if you have the rights.
We reserve the right to edit accepted manuscripts, but do not wish to do heavy editing.
Include your bio of no more than 50 words.
Contributors will receive one complimentary copy and a reduced price on initial purchase/s.
Send material to Celia Miles at celiahoopermiles@gmail.com, as an attachment.
We know WNC has excellent writers. We look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Nancy Simpson recommends:

HELLO MOUNTAIN WRITERS, Here is a new writing class I highly recommend and it will be taught in Hayesville, NC. THE PRICE IS RIGHT, for sure.

Dana teaches at Writers Circle in  Hayesville, NC on April 25, Saturday, 10 - 1:00 p.m.
Words are all we have - title of Dana's class for all genre writers. 
$35.00 for three hour class. Contact Glenda Beall - glendabeall@msn.com 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Celebration of NATIONAL POETRY MONTH Held in Hayesville, NC

Coffee With The Poets, a program of NC Writers Network West celebratedNational Poetry Month with two featured readers, Glenda Barrett of Hiawassee, Georgia and Nancy  Simpson of Hayesville, NC on April 8, 2015. The event was held at Joe's Coffee Shop in Hayesville.

What a fun time. Thanks to all who where there.

Glenda Barrett, Glenda Beall, Carole Thompson, Bob Grove

NCWN West members and fellow poets
All living within driving distance are welcome to join NCWN West. 
http://www.ncwriters-west.org/ Serving writers in the western Carolina mountains. We are a 24 year old program of the statewide NCWN. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Celebrate National Poetry Month

This is National Poetry Month, and tomorrow, to celebrate, I will read some of my poems at Joe's Coffee Shop in Hayesville, NC. Because of a change in plans, Glenda Barrett, my long time friend and fellow poet from Hiawassee, Georgia will read also. Glenda Barrett is the most authentic  Appalachian poet writing in the mountains today.  She is the author of  WHEN THE SAP RISES and hundreds of individual poems.
Brenda Kay Ledford, also an outstanding Appalachian poet, known to you as "THE BLUE RIDGE POET,was scheduled to read, but had to cancel because of family matters. Please keep Brenda Kay in mind and her mother, our dear one Blanche Ledford, who is recovering from surgery. 
--Nancy Simpson
...AND A NOTE FROM GLENDA BEALL, founder of coffee with the Poets
We are happy that Glenda Barrett, artist, poet and writer from Hiawassee, Georgia will read with Nancy Simpson at Coffee with the Poets and Writers on Wednesday, April 8. Brenda Kay Ledford had to cancel and we appreciate Glenda Barrett stepping in at the last minute.

A long-time member of Netwest, Glenda’s work has been widely published. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Journal of Kentucky Studies, Woman's World, Farm & Ranch Living, Country Woman, Chicken Soup for the Soul and in anthologies, Lights in the Mountains and Echoes across the Blue Ridge. Her artwork is online at Fine Art America. Finishing Line Press, in 2008, published her poetry chapbook titled, "When the Sap Rises.”
Come and enjoy two experienced and well-loved local poets. Bring a poem or short prose to read at open mic. Bring a friend and enjoy Joe's delicious coffee and have a bagel with cream cheese. Joe has welcomed our writers to  his shop and I hope we will come out and show our appreciation.

Glenda Council Beall

Monday, April 6, 2015


A message from Rosemary Royston

All:  Greetings!  I wanted to be sure you all are aware of the upcoming events we are having at YHC.  Edward Hirsch, prize-winning poet and president of the Guggenheim Foundation, will be reading on campus, Thursday, April 9th at 7 pm, Suber Banquet Hall in the Rollins Campus Center.  The event is free and open to the public.  We are thrilled to have Hirsch on campus.  You may find the press release here:  http://www.yhc.edu/yhc%E2%80%99s-annual-reece-lecture-feature-celebrated-poet-edward-hirsch

We are also hosting the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, beginning on Friday, April 10th and going through the weekend.  General admission is $20.00, and there is a large line-up of award-winning storytellers.  More information is here:http://www.yhc.edu/yhc-host-first-annual-georgia-mountain-storytelling-festival, and tickets may be purchased in advance here:http://www.eventbrite.com/e/georgia-mountain-storytelling-festival-april-10-11-2015-tickets-14172300733.

I hope you'll be able to join us for one or both of these events.

Thanks, and happy writing!

Rosemary Royston

Friday, April 3, 2015


Nancy Simpson

Brenda Kay Ledford

April is poetry month and there is no finer way to celebrate than attending Coffee with the Poets, a monthly event held at Joe’s Coffee Shop and Trading Post, 82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC. North Carolina Writers Network-West sponsors this event which meets at10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

Recently a visitor to our area said, "This should be on a list of things to do here!"

Two widely published local poets, members of NCWN West, Brenda Kay Ledford and Nancy Simpson, are featured on the program this month. Coffee with the Poets and Writers is open to the public at no charge. Bring a poem or short prose, 1000 words or less, and read at Open Mic. Joe’s Coffee shop serves fine coffees and teas, and snacks can be purchased.

Brenda Kay Ledford is a well-known poet and native of Clay County, NC. She holds a Master of Arts in Education from Western Carolina University. She has done post-graduate work in Appalachian Studies, and the theme of most of her writing is her Appalachian heritage.

Brenda received the Paul Green Multimedia Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians seven times for her books, her collections of oral history, and her blog Historical Hayesville. Her work has appeared in Our State, Carolina Country Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Appalachian Heritage, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Asheville Poetry Review, Country Extra Magazine, Blue Ridge Parkway Silver Anniversary Edition Celebration, and many other journals.

Finishing Line Press published Brenda’s poetry books: Shewbird Mountain, Sacred Fire, and Beckoning. She co-authored Simplicity with Blanche L. Ledford.  She is also an outstanding photographer as you can see on her blog, Blue Ridge Poet.

Nancy Simpson lives in Hayesville, NC. Through 2010 she served as Resident Writer at the John C. Campbell Folk School. She taught many of the poets and writers in this area in her classes there and at Tri-County Community College. She also taught poetry for ICL at Young Harris College.

Nancy is the author of three poetry collections: Across Water, Night Student, and most recently Living Above the Frost Line, New and Selected Poems (Carolina Wren Press, 2010). She also edited Echoes Across the Blue Ridge (anthology 2010). She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BS in education from Western Carolina University. She received a NC Arts Fellowship and co-founded NC Writers Network-West.

Simpson’s poems have been published in The Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review, Seneca Review, New Virginia Review, Prairie Schooner and others. Her poems have been included in anthologies, Word and Wisdom, 100 Years of N.C. Poetry and Literary Trails of N.C. (2008). Her poems have also been featured in Southern Appalachian Poetry, a textbook anthology published at McFarland Press.
Visit her blog, Living Above the Frost Line to learn more about her.  

Contact NCWN West Representative, Glenda Beall, at 828-389-4441 or glendabeall@msn.com  for information.