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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, February 3, 2015

Our Fellow NC Writers' Netwest Writer Barbara Steelman Groce has Died

Sad as my heart is tonight hearing the news of Barbara's passing, I find I can only face this loss as she would want me to --by celebrating her life and more than that, by celebrating her gift for poetry. 

I first met Barbara Groce at Coffee With the Poets in Hayesville,  NC. One  week later she took my poetry writing class at John C. Campbell Folk School. I will always remember how she breezed in each day, dressed as if at a special event, always with a smile, always writing poems from the heart. In the photo below, I remember I asked her if she planned her outfit to match the silk flowers on our table. I was impressed with Barbara's poems and celebrated her poems and featured her on my poetry blog three different times. In March 2013 she was featured as Poet of the Month. (To read three posts about Barbara and her poems, click on the http addresses below.) 

 Barbara Groce at another  poetry class at John C. Campbell Folk School.

To read more about Barbara Steelman Groce and her Poetry, see posts from Nancy Simpson's LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE BLOG BELOW. 



Four Poems Meet Appalachian Poet May 2010


Below, written by her family.

Barbara Groce, 82, passed away in her home, February 2, 2015, 2015 following a brief illness.  She is survived by her husband Bill, three children, Hal of Charlotte, NC, Marti and Clark of Woodstock, GA, along with six grandchildren, Hal and Sherri’s children Erin and Zachary of Charlotte, Clark and Stacy’s children, Megan, Claire, Caroline of Asheville and Woodstock and Marti’s daughter Gabbi of Woodstock.  She is also survived by sister, Susan Webb, Stantonsburg, NC, and two brothers, Robert of Danville, PA and Harold of Holly Springs, NC. 
Born in St. Charles, a small coal mining community in western Virginia, Barbara moved to Kinston, North Carolina at age nine.   She graduated from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and earned a Master’s in Education from Eastern Carolina University.  Barbara taught in the North Carolina Public School System.  She met her husband Bill in Charlotte, NC where their three children were born.  Barbara retired from teaching with the birth of their first child.  Barbara held a lifelong love of art, particularly hand crafted items.   She built a successful business making wooden ornaments when they moved to Asheville, NC.  She and friends started a successful handcraft business and opened a cross stitch shop in Charlotte.  Upon moving to Atlanta in 1983, Barbara turned her energy to North Fulton Community Charities where she was a regular, working in the intake section.

Upon moving to the North Georgia Mountains in 2007, she turned to poetry as an outlet for the childhood and lifetime memories pressing for release.  Although she had never written, she poured her energy into learning.  She attended a number of classes and workshops, including the annual Writer’s Conference sponsored by the Blue Ridge Arts Center.  Numerous area, regional and national poets shared generously to mentor her. Barbara is a member of the Georgia Poetry Society, North Carolina Writers Network, the Kentucky State Poetry Society, the Shallow Enders and her local church poetry group.  

Barbara’s poems have been published in Pegasus, journal of the Kentucky State Poetry Society, Reach of Song, 2011, annual publication of the Georgia Poetry Society, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Spring 2011 and local newspapers.  She has won awards from the Kentucky State Poetry Society (2009, 2010, 2011) and the Illinois State Poetry Society (2010).  She published two Chapbooks, Appalachian Girl and Christmas Legends and in 2012 Cardinal House Publishing released a comprehensive collection of her poems entitled the Dancing Years.

Despite success building handcraft businesses and a late life poetry career, Barbara’s priority was her family, particularly her grandchildren.  She has left a strong legacy.  Her poetry reflects her character and values and will reinforce her influence through generations.   
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages contributions to the Blue Ridge Mountains Art Association, Writers Conference.  Checks should be made to BRMAA with Barbara Groce on the memo line.  The Art Center will know to direct the funds to benefit the Writer’s Conference.  The mailing address is 420 W. Main St., Blue Ridge, GA 30513.

Please leave a comment. Comments will be shared with Barbara's family.


Glenda C. Beall said...

Barbara was indeed a wonderful lady and good poet. Her last book was very special. Thanks for posting about Barbara. We will all miss her smiling face as well as her poetry.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

I do remember meeting Barbara some years ago at Coffee With the Poets. It seems that she led a full and very creative life, and that is a blessing. I know that she will be missed by many.