Friday, March 22, 2019

New Poet Laureate of Georgia, Chelsea Rathburn

Congratulations to Chelsea RathburnShe is a professor at Young Harris College, where she directs the creative writing program. She has just been named Poet Laureate of Georgia. 

Chelsea Rathburn, new Poet Laureate of Georgia

What an honor! She is following in the footsteps of Betty Sellers, the fabulous poet who was professor of English at YHC decades ago. She was also named Poet Laureate of Georgia. Sellers was author of numerous books of poetry and was best known for her poems about life in southern Appalachia. 

Chelsea Rathburn is the author of three full-length poetry collections, most recently Still Life with Mother and Knife, a New York Times “New & Noteworthy” book released by Louisiana State University Press in February 2019. Rathburn’s first full-length collection, The Shifting Line, won the 2005 Richard Wilbur Award, and her second collection, A Raft of Grief, was published by Autumn House Press in 2013.

Rathburn’s poems have appeared in the nation’s most esteemed journals, including Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic, The Southern Review, New England Review, and Ploughshares, among others.While she was born in Jacksonville and raised in Miami, Florida, Rathburn has deep roots in the state of Georgia, where her mother’s family has lived since the 1830s.

Rathburn moved to Decatur, Georgia in 2001 after completing graduate school at the University of Arkansas. Since 2013, she has lived in the North Georgia mountains with her husband, the poet James Davis May, and their daughter.

Chelsea Rathburn will be a featured guest at Writers Night Out in Blairsville, Georgia April 12, 2019. Karen Holmes is host and NCWN-West is sponsor of this event open to the public. For more info: kpaulholmes AT gmail DOT com

Free Biscuits from Biscuitville at NCWN Spring Conference

Charles really tempted me with this news. Free Biscuits? I would walk a mile for free biscuits, but, alas, I can't go to Spring Conference even for free biscuits. I would love to, but can't make the long trip anymore. 
I hope you can. Look at what is available for writers in Greensboro, NC on April 27!!

If you've already registered for Spring Conference, thank you! If not, please consider joining us for a full day of sessions and programs on the craft and business of writing.

The NCWN 2019 Spring Conference happens Saturday, April 27, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Pre-registration is open at

It's Friday night, you probably have things to do, so we'll just offer a quick rundown of why you should think about coming out to Spring Conference:

* Classes in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the basics of the book business
* The annual Slush Pile Live!
* A full exhibit hall offering access to publishers, literary groups, and more
* Open mics
* Faculty readings
* Lunch with an Author (only available to those who pre-register)
* Free biscuits from Biscuitville


I mean, we can't ask our attendees to handle all this excitement on an empty stomach....

Register at

Have a good weekend--see you April 27 in Greensboro!
Charles Fiore
Communications Director
North Carolina Writers' Network

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Literary Hour Readings, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at The John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC

On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 7:00 PM, the John C. Campbell Folk School and NC Writers' Network-West (NCWN-West) will sponsor The Literary Hour. At this event, NCWN-West members will read at the Keith House on the JCCFS campus, in Brasstown, NC. The Literary Hour is held on the third Thursday of the month unless otherwise indicated. This reading is free of charge and open to the public. This month's featured readers will be, poet and author Natalie Grant, poet Joan M. Howard, and poet Mary A. Ricketson.

Natalie Grant has spent much of her life in Western North Carolina and most of her career as the only high school language arts teacher at a rural k-12 school. She writes both fiction and poetry and is inspired by the landscape of her mountain home, its people, and the many storytellers in her family.
Currently, Grant is writing short stories and a volume of poetry entitled The Language of Bones. Her educational background includes an MFA in creative writing from the University of the South's School of Letters, an MA in English from Western Carolina University, and a BA in History and English from Berea College. Grant is also a Rep for NCWN-West. 

Joan M. Howard, whose poetry has been published in POEM, The Road Not Taken: The Journal of Formal Poetry, the Aurorean, Lucid Rhythms, Victorian Violet, the Wayfarer and other literary journals. She published the book Death and Empathy: My Sister Web, in 2017.  Her latest book is: Jack, Love and the Daily Grail, from Kelsay Publications.
Howard is a former teacher with an MA in German and English literature and is a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network.  She enjoys birding and kayaking on the beautiful waters of Lake Chatuge near Hiawassee,

Mary A. Ricketson, Murphy NC, inspired by nature and her work as a mental health counselor, has poetry published in Wild Goose Poetry Review, Future Cycle Press, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Lights in the Mountains, Echoes Across the Blue Ridge, Red Fox Run, It’s All Relative, Old Mountain Press, Whispers, and Voices. Her chapbook is, I Hear the River Call my Name, and she has two full length collections, Hanging Dog Creek, and Shade and Shelter.  Her new book, Mississippi: The Story of Luke and Marian, is forthcoming, 2019, from Kelsay Books.

Currently Mary is using her own poetry to present empowerment workshops, combining roles as writer and her helping role as a therapist. Ricketson’s poems and activities relate with nature, facilitate talk about a personal path, and focus on growth in ordinary and unusual times. She writes a monthly column, Women to Women, for The Cherokee Scout, is a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, a Rep for NCWN-West, and an organic blueberry farmer.

For more information about this event, contact Mary Ricketson at:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Swain County Rep's First Book Forthcoming in May

Swain County NCWN-West rep Benjamin Cutler's first book, The Geese Who Might Be Gods, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in May!  It's now available for pre-order at a substantial discount at

Ben Cutler’s first book of poems is rooted in a particular soil, or bone, of this world, the mountains and rivers of the southern Appalachians; but its branches and crowns stretch out to the hope of a post-apocalyptic tomato sandwich and back to Eden. Cutler’s imagination, like his vulture, is endlessly hungry, but it quivers, “lip-torn and breathless”, with empathy for and identification with everything it touches—bees, bats, children, god-geese whose necks write the letter S “for all their secrets.” These are quirky, accessible poems full of the music of common language.  The casual browser, in picking up this collection, need not fear being bullied or patronized—nothing too scary here, unless you count loneliness, death, the perils of love, or the end of the world.  But it is in their setting that the poet’s perilous love for the world finds its context and its meaning.  The Geese Who Might Be Gods will reward reading and re-reading with passage into a familiar world both rendered strange and seen anew, as if on “the first day’s morning—// when everything first opened / and reached for the new light.”

A Swain High English teacher as well as a poet, Ben Cutler has also been recently awarded 1st prize in TWO of the 2019 North Carolina Poetry Society Poetry Contests: The Carol Bessent Poetry of Love contest for his poem “Speak of Rivers” and the Poetry of Witness contest for his poem “The Church of Unmaking.” Everyone, please congratulate Ben! 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Rarey and Grove are featured at Coffee with the Poets and Writers March 20

On Wednesday, March 20, at 10:30 AM, Coffee with the Poets and Writers (CWPW) will feature storyteller Knute Rarey and writer Bob Grove. 

The event will be held at the Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville, NC, and is free and open to the public. An open mic will follow the presentation. CWPW is sponsored by North Carolina Writers’ Network West (NCWN-W).  

        Kanute Rarey is a local storyteller. He told his first "official" story in 2015 atJohn C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina, and later at the Swapping Ground at the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Since then he has also told stories at the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, the Big Fibbers Festival, the Texas Storytelling Festival, the Moth Story Slam in Asheville, and the Stone Soup Festival.

       Born on a family farm in Ohio, he began visiting the North Georgia mountains regularly about forty years ago and fell in love with the people, their stories, the wild rivers, beautiful lakes, and mountains. He moved to Hayesville in 1990 and lived here for ten years. Work then took him away. Four years ago he retired back to Hayesville full-time.
       Rarey is a traveler, teacher, grandfather, and lifelong learner. Stories are from his personal life, from growing up on a farm in the Western Carolina mountains, from listening to family tales at breakfast gatherings and holiday meals, from the "characters" that make up his family, and from living with children and grandchildren. Some of his stories are established fables that hold life lessons that have been told over and over for many years. Other stories are works of his imagination.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Bob Grove lives with his wife Judy and their adorable Sheltie in a 55-acre woodland atop a mountain of North Carolina.  His diversified college curriculum led him to teach high school courses in science, psychology, English, and creative writing. Grove served as an ABC public affairs host, interviewing many newsworthy notables. He has been a featured speaker at 14 national conventions and a U.S. Congressional committee. 

His interests have led him to treasure hunting in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, exploring in Alaska, roaming through old, abandoned houses, and sightseeing the beautiful Grand Canyon of the Pacific on the island of Kauai.   
Now retired and a prose critique facilitator for the North Carolina Writers Network-West and the Ridgeline Literary Alliance, he has published 19 books and hundreds of articles in 23 magazines. 
With more time to write, Grove varies his topical genres from humor to drama, and even dabbles in occasional poetry. He is a popular performance reader, evidenced by his well-attended annual reading, in costume and British dialect, of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown. 
    For more information about this event, please contact Glenda Beall at:

Monday, March 11, 2019

The best small conference in this area - April 5-6

Don't forget to register for the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference in Blue Ridge Georgia at the Arts Center on April 5 - 6. This is the best small conference around this area. The Art Center is lovely with all the visual art on display and the staff makes everyone feel welcome. They serve  food on Saturday morning and your dues include a cold lunch.

Some of our local writers at the Blue Ridge Conference

I have attended every year since Carol Crawford started the conference and I have also participated as a presenter. I always enjoy it. Read all about it on their webpage.

Learn more about it here.

2019 Writers' Night Out, Blairsville

Featured Readers plus Open Mic!

Second Fridays at 7 pm

 (Arrive by 6 for dinner or drinks - The View Grill - self pay)

Union County Community Center, Blairsville


               2019 Schedule of Prose Writers and Poets
  • April 12:           Chelsea Rathburn & James May
  • May 10:            Glenda Beall & Mary Mike Keller
  • June 14             James Davis & Dan Veach
  • July 12:             Victoria Barken & Ryvers Stewart
  • August 9:          Mary Ricketson & Loren Leith
  • September 13:  Kathy Nelson & Karen Paul Holmes
  • October 11:       Linda Jones & Alan Cone
  • November 8:     Rosemary Royston & TBA

Sign up at door for Open Mic. Limit 3 minutes per reader.

For more info: kpaulholmes AT gmail DOT com