Thursday, May 19, 2022

Distinguished Poet Kenneth Chamlee to be Featured Reader for Mountain Wordsmiths

Kenneth Chamlee

Mountain Wordsmiths is honored to have as our featured reader, distinguished poet Kenneth Chamlee, on Thursday morning, May 26, at 10:30 via Zoom. Our monthly gathering, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West, is continuing its online presence because local writers, as well as writers from other states and cities, are joining us each month on Zoom.

Chamlee is a 2022 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for the North Carolina Poetry Society. His poems have appeared in The North Carolina Literary Review, The Greensboro Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, Ekphrasis, and many other journals, including several editions of Kakalak: An Anthology of Carolina Poets. He has two contest-winning chapbooks, Absolute Faith (ByLine Press) and Logic of the Lost (Longleaf Press), and has done residencies with the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Hambidge Center.

Chamlee has received three Pushcart Prize nominations and in 2017 was a finalist for the James Applewhite Poetry Prize. An Emeritus Professor of English at Brevard College, NC, he was the first director of the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference, held annually in Brevard.  

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and teaches for the Great Smokies Writing Program of UNC-Asheville. His new collection of poems, If Not These Things, will be published in the fall of 2022. His poetic biography of 19th century American landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, The Best Material for the Artist in the World, is forthcoming in 2023. Learn more about him at and @kenchamlee on Twitter. 

NCWN-West is continuing to stay in touch by using technology to share our writing. We will offer writing events and writing classes online until we can safely meet face-to-face again. Many writers are enjoying the convenience and flexibility of Zoom meetings because of the ability to join us from other locations.

 Mountain Wordsmiths will continue its online presence. For those who enjoyed attending Coffee with the Poets and Writers which met at Moss Memorial Library, exciting news is coming soon!

Those wishing to attend Mountain Wordsmiths may contact Carroll Taylor at to receive the Zoom link. We welcome those who would simply like to listen to the beauty of wordsmithing.












Saturday, May 14, 2022

Congratulations to Diane C. McPhail

Hi, Glenda.
My second novel, historical fiction, will be released on May 31, with a big launch in New Orleans. The book, THE SEAMSTRESS OF NEW ORLEANS, is a mystery set in 1900 in the early efforts toward women’s rights and equality.

Set against the backdrop of the first all-female Mardi Gras krewe at the turn of the century, the acclaimed author’s mesmerizing historical novel tells of two strangers separated by background but bound by an unexpected secret—and of the strength and courage women draw from and inspire in each other.  GoodReads“An undercurrent of New Orleans’s dark side propels the story, heightening the tension and supplying McPhail with a wealth of evocative details.” – Publishers Weekly
I am thrilled to write a review for this fantastic book! Most movies and books honestly do not really "get" New Orleans correct when they try to tell a story about this city. This author Diane C. McPhail has written a book that captures the essence of New Orleans. It also has wonderful friendships between women who want to support and lift other women to achieve.   GoodReads early reviewer
A dynamic first chapter sets the tone for this showcase of female friendship. Not everything is resolved, making the story all the more believable.   GoodReads early reviewer

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Celia Miles has published another Marcy Dehanne Grist Mill Mystery


Celia enthralls her readers and fans with her mystery novels. 

Celia Miles, a native of western North Carolina, lives and writes from Asheville
She writes in various genres and her fiction—all women-oriented—reflects her interests in old grist mills and Neolithic sites around the world.

She attended Brevard and Berea Colleges and has graduate degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and IUP in Pennsylvania. She taught at Brevard College and retired
 from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College as an instructor.

Celia Miles, 

Three of Celia's clean and cozy mysteries feature intrepid Marcy Dehanne, an instructor turned grist mill consultant, who finds that old mills too often harbor a dead body: The Body at Wrapp's Mill; The Body at StarShine Mill; and, 2020, The Skeleton at the Old Painted Mill.

Now a new book follows Marcy Dehanne and it is set in a grist mill. I know we all want to see what is going to happen to Marcy now.
Learn more about Celia's books on her website:

Friday, May 6, 2022

Poet David Graham to be Featured at Writers’ Night Out on Zoom

Poet and editor David Graham will be the featured guest for Writers’ Night Out on Friday evening, May 13, at 7:00 PM. 


This monthly event sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West is being held online because of continued COVID precautions. We hope to meet again in person in the near future. However, we are happy that not only local writers but those from other states and distant cities are joining us each month on Zoom.

Graham has seven collections of poetry, and the most recent is The Honey of Earth (Terrapin Books, 2019). He co-edited (with Tom Montag) the anthology Local News: Poetry About Small Towns, and, with Kate Sontag, the essay anthology After Confession: Poetry as Confession. He has been a faculty member several times at The Frost Place in Franconia New Hampshire, where he also served as Poet in Residence in 1996.

In 2016 he retired from teaching at Ripon College, where he also directed the Visiting Writers Series for twenty-eight years. Currently a contributing editor at the online journal Verse-Virtual, he also writes a column, “Poetic License.”

David was educated at Dartmouth College and The University of Massachusetts. He lives in Glens Falls, NY. To read more about Graham, visit his website at

Everyone is invited to bring a poem or short prose piece to read at Open Mic. Time is limited to 3 – 4 minutes. Only two poems, please. Contact Glenda Beall at to be placed on the list for Open Mic. To receive the Zoom link, contact Glenda Beall also.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Brenda Kay Ledford's Essay Published


Brenda Kay Ledford's essay, "Harold, My Big Brother, A Tribute to Honor National Brother's Day," appeared on the website:  "Daily Inspired Life."

To view Ledford's story:

Monday, April 25, 2022

Mountain Wordsmiths to Celebrate National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and Mountain Wordsmiths will celebrate the beauty and significance of poetry on Thursday morning, April 28, at 10:30 AM via Zoom.

Our monthly gathering sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West is continuing its online presence because local writers, as well as writers from other states and cities, are joining us each month on Zoom.

Kathryn Stripling Byer

Glenda Beall, NCWN-West Program Coordinator, will begin the meeting with a tribute to two late members who had a profound effect on area poets as well as poets across North Carolina and nationwide. Kathryn Stripling Byer was the first woman to be named Poet Laureate of North Carolina (2005-2009). 

Nancy Simpson founded NCWN-West, which provides support and connection for members of NCWN who live in Western North Carolina and in the Georgia counties which touch North Carolina.

Nancy Simpson

Byer and Simpson mentored countless poets, both beginners and seasoned poets alike. Beall will read a selection of their poems as a tribute to their lasting legacy. In lieu of Open Mic, during the program, all attendees are encouraged to read a favorite poem or one they have written.

NCWN-West is continuing to stay in touch by using technology to share our writing. We will offer writing events and writing classes online until we can safely meet face-to-face again. Many writers are enjoying the convenience and flexibility of Zoom meetings because of our ability to include poets and writers from other locations.

We welcome those who were regulars at Coffee with the Poets and Writers that met at Moss Memorial Library. Those wishing to attend Mountain Wordsmiths may contact Carroll Taylor at to receive the Zoom link. We welcome those who would simply like to listen to the beauty of wordsmithing.

Written by Carroll S. Taylor

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Have you visited JCCFS? Now is the time.

 My friends, if you have never been to the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, you must put it on your calendar to spend time there.

The school began in the 1930s as a replica of Folk Schools in Denmark, Sweden, and other countries, but has grown tremendously since its birth when the natives of Clay and Cherokee County gave land and labor to build it

One of our NCWN members, Dr. Eugene Hirsch, who was from Pennsylvania, but owned a mountain cabin near Murphy, NC, was a poet as well as a renowned doctor. On one of his trips down south, Gene Hirsch spent a week taking a class at the folk school in Brasstown. Like most of us locals, he fell in love with the casual, friendly, and enthusiastic people there and continued to take classes, but he thought this would be a great place for a writing program. 

He talked to the director of the school and soon there were writing classes on the schedule. Our own Nancy Simpson served as Resident Writer and she brought some of the best poets, novelists, and nonfiction writers to the little town of Brasstown, a place they might never have heard of if not for the writing program at John Campbell. I am fortunate to have been a student there many times over the years and to have taught writing there. Some of my happiest times were at the John C. Campbell Folk School, and I met people who have become life-long friends.

This photograph is of one of the first classes I taught at JCCFS in 2008

I have never been able to put into words the feelings I had while attending and the feelings I had when I left. Your classmates or your students become like family as you share common interests such as weaving, painting, cooking, dancing, playing instruments, and writing. I am reading a memoir by Betty Brown, a fellow student I met in a writing class at John Campbell a decade ago. She is well known as a visual artist also. I find that she is an excellent writer. 

Below is the writing schedule for this year. I know most of these writers and some are long-time friends of mine. Make a pledge to yourself to spend a week or a weekend in a writing class with one of the fantastic writers who will be your instructor. You will stay in a comfortable cabin with other students. You will share meals from the dining room and you will attend gatherings outside now because of COVID. Visit their website and read the catalog. I promise you if you spend time there enjoying a craft of your choosing, making friends, and learning more about yourself, you will make memories that will be with you always.

For those of us who live in counties near the school, we can come home at night.  The tuition is half of the price paid by others.

Click on this link to see what is happening in the writing classes.


Rosemary Royston
Creative Writing Across GenresSunday, May 8 - Saturday, May 14, 2022
Annette Clapsaddle
The Body Keeps the StorySunday, June 12 - Saturday, Jun 18, 2022
Pamela Duncan
Fiction Writing - Focus on CraftSunday, July 3 - Friday, Jul 8, 2022
Dana Wildsmith
What's in Your Writing Folder?Sunday, August 14 - Saturday, Aug 20, 2022
Darnell Arnoult
Creative Nonfiction in a FlashFriday, September 2 - Sunday, Sep 4, 2022
Valerie Nieman
The Breath of Life: Discovering and Depicting CharactersSunday, October 30 - Saturday, Nov 5, 2022
Bobbie Pell
Poetry - The Wonders of NatureFriday, November 18 - Sunday, Nov 20, 2022

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Poetry books by Scott Owens Here

 Scott Owen's books are available in several places and because he appeared on Writers' Night Out on Zoom, you didn't get to see his books and buy his books that evening. 

Scott sent a listing of his new books and where you can purchase them. 

"So, all of the new books are either already available through Redhawk and Amazon or will be within the next year. The only one I mentioned that is not from Redhawk is "Their Shadows Trail Them Home," the prequel to "All In," which is available at Clemson University Press.

*"Sky Full of Stars and Dreaming," Redhawk Publications, 2021,

*"Worlds Enough: Poems for Children and A Few Grown-Ups," Redhawk Publications, To be published July 2022

*"Prepositional," Redhawk Publications, To be published November 2022

*"All In" (Sequel to "Shadows Trail Them Home"), Redhawk Publications, To be published April 2023
Most of my other books are still available through Main Street Rag, "

We have books to look forward to in the coming months, and if you don't have Scott's earlier books, you will want to order one today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Poet Scott Owens , a friend of Netwest Writers, is featured at Writers' Night Out April 8


We are happy to have Scott Owens, an excellent poet, with us Friday evening for Writers' Night Out, at 7:00 PM. This will be a Zoom event as we are not meeting in person yet. 

We have a long history with Scott going back many years when he often came to western NC and north Georgia to do readings and to teach poetry at Writers Circle around the Table. He has also invited our members to Hickory, NC where he holds a monthly meeting for poets at his coffeehouse. 

If you are not familiar with Scott's poetry, you don't want to miss this opportunity Friday night for this reading. If you know his work, you will be very glad you contacted me for the link to the Zoom meeting.

Scott Owens is the author of 16 collections of poetry and recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Next Generation/Indie Lit Awards, the NC Writers Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC. 

His newest collection, Sky Full of Stars and Dreaming has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. His book of poems for children, Worlds Enough, is due out from RedHawk Press later this year, as is a new collection of poetry entitled Prepositional. His poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac 7 times, and his articles about writing poetry have been used in Poet’s Market for several years. 

Owens holds degrees from Ohio University, UNC Charlotte, and UNC Greensboro.  He is a Professor of Poetry at Lenoir Rhyne University and the former editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review and Southern Poetry Review. He owns and operates Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse and Gallery and coordinates Poetry Hickory in Hickory, NC.   

As you can see, Scott writes poetry, publishes poetry, and teaches others to write poetry. We are so honored to have him with us for Writers' Night Out.

Contact to receive the Zoom link and to read at Open Mic. 

See you then.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Glass: A Journal of Poetry published Lines Written Under Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

 Karen Paul Holmes | Lines Written Under Hartsfield-Jackson Airport | Glass: A Journal of Poetry (

Written in 2019, Karen's poem is even more relatable today. Read it and let us know what you think.

April is poetry month. 

Want to share one of your poems here? Send only poems that have been published because most journals will not publish them after they have been published online.


Thursday, March 31, 2022

Tweetspeak Features Ukranian-American Poet Ilya Kaminsky

 National Poetry Month: Poetry Matters

As Tweetspeak's "Poet Laura," my latest post honors poetry's place in the world. A poem has a unique way of becoming more than just its words. That's why social media has exploded lately with people sharing poetry expressing thoughts and feelings about Ukraine, and Ukrainian poets are wielding their creative power, even as they lose their homes. 

Please visit the Tweetspeak Poetry site to read a sample of Ilya Kaminsky's work and find links to more information about him. You're invited to post (in the comments on the site) your unpublished poem or links to poems that speak to the human spirit in times of war.

And because April is poetry month, you'll also find an ars poetica by Geraldine Connolly, which emphasizes the importance of finding the right words. 

Poet Laura, Tweetspeak Poetry, March 31, 2022 

   Karen Paul Holmes, 2022 Poet Laura, Tweetspeak Poetry   

Friday, March 25, 2022

Congratulations to Maren O. Mitchell

Maren O. Mitchell

Maren O. Mitchell, a County Representative of NCWN-West for Georgia, has had the following poems published lately: the November, 2021 issue of POEM: "I'd Like to Forget" and "I See the Sounds of Time" - the December, 2021 issue of The Orchards Poetry Journal: "February 6, second." - the #102 issue, The Optimist, of Poetry East: "Hope, you stay with me when I have nothing else" - and the January 2022, issue of The Lake: "Green" and "Orange, my-favorite-color."

 Her chapbook, In my next life I plan... is forthcoming in 2022 from dancinggirl press. 

 Maren's poems appear in The Antigonish Review (Canada), Cider Press Review, Chiron Review, The Cortland Review, POEM, The Comstock Review, Tar River Poetry, Poetry East, Hotel Amerika, Appalachian Heritage, The South Carolina Review, Southern Humanities Review, Appalachian Journal and elsewhere.

Three poems, “X Is a Kiss on Paper," “T, Totally Balanced,” and "Bears, Ants and Avocados" have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes.

 A North Carolina native, in her childhood, Maren O. Mitchell lived in Bordeaux, France, and Kaiserslautern, Germany.  After moving throughout the southeast U.S., she now lives with her husband on the edge of a national forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia.


Monday, March 21, 2022

Writer Pat Zick to be Featured Reader for Mountain Wordsmiths

 Pat Zick, who writes under the pseudonym of P.C. Zick, will be the featured guest reader for Mountain Wordsmiths on Thursday morning, March 24, at 10:30 via Zoom. This monthly event sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West is continuing its online presence because local writers, as well as writers from other states and cities, are joining us each month on Zoom.

Zick writes in a variety of genres, including romance and contemporary fiction, as well as nonfiction. She's won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and novels. Sharing her stories with others and helping aspiring writers realize their dreams motivate all her projects whether serving as an editor to others or creating books that entertain and inform her readers. 

She will be reading several pieces of creative nonfiction and sharing an excerpt from her latest novel, which will be released later this year.

She and her husband split their time between Tallahassee, Florida, and the Smoky Mountains near Murphy, North Carolina, where they enjoy gardening, kayaking, golfing, and hiking. She has recently taken the position of Cherokee County, NC Representative for NCWN West. To learn more about the author, visit 

Pat Zick

NC Writers’ Network-West is continuing to stay in touch by using technology to share our writing. We will offer writing events and writing classes online until we can safely meet face-to-face again. Many writers are enjoying the convenience and flexibility of Zoom meetings because we are able to include poets and writers from other locations.

We welcome those who were regulars at Coffee with the Poets and Writers who met at Moss Memorial Library. Those wishing to attend Mountain Wordsmiths may contact Carroll Taylor at to receive the Zoom link. Also, those who wish to participate in Open Mic may sign up upon entering the meeting. We welcome those who would simply like to listen to the beauty of wordsmithing.


Friday, March 11, 2022

Kenneth Chamlee, Distinguished Poet, Featured



Gilbert-Chappell Reading on March 14

Western Carolina University’s 20th annual Spring Literary Festival will feature the 2022 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series western region reading by Distinguished Poet Dr. Kenneth Chamlee and student poets Sydney Moretz, Shaun Kawalec, Mike Islas, and Vivian I. Bikulege.  The reading will take place at noon on Monday, March 14, in the A. K. Hinds University Center Theater.  This event is free and open to the public. 

Monday, February 28, 2022

Writers' Conference, Blue Ridge, GA, April 8-9

Keynote Speaker: Julie Guinn 
"How to Write a NY Times Bestseller"

There's something for writers of every genre with authors Renea Winchester, Rona Simmons, Kim Zackman, and NCWN representative Karen Paul Holmes, who will lead the following poetry workshops:

Poetry That Pops: Unexpected Word Pairings

Each word in a poem counts, as do the words next to it. Adjective-noun and subject-verb pairs that the reader hasn’t seen before can add vitality. Did the rain fall or did it slither down the glass? Each creates a particular image in the mind, but the latter also sets a certain mood. We’ll look at examples from skilled poets and try a fun prompt that helps you dig deeper for the just-right word combination.

Publishing in Journals & Anthologies: 

Submitting your poetry can be daunting and discouraging, but then an acceptance arrives and makes your day. We’ll discuss strategy, pitfalls to avoid, choosing which poems to send and where, and what makes a good cover letter. You’ll go home with an arsenal of  submission tips and tools. 

For registration, schedule, class descriptions, and more:

Writers' Night Returns March 11 with Rosemary Royston on Zoom

Writers' Night Out - March 11, 7 p.m.

Reading + Discussion... + Open Mic 

Rosemary Royston, poet

NCWN-West invites you to join us via ZOOM. 
Request Zoom link and sign up for Open Mic by emailing

Praise for Rosemary's new book,
Second Sight:

"This collection of Royston’s is honest, timely, and beautiful. It is a love letter to Appalachia and rural people everywhere who often don’t get their stories told in such a powerful and compassionate manner."
     - Angela Jackson-Brown, author 

Rosemary Royston, author of Second Sight (2021, Kelsay Press) and Splitting the Soil (Finishing Line Press, 2014), resides in the northeast Georgia mountains with her family. Her writing has been published in journals such as POEMSplit Rock ReviewSouthern Poetry Review, Poetry South, Appalachian Review, and *82 Review. Her photography has been published in A Rose in the World, Bloodroot, and New Southerner. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Young Harris College. 
Visit her website

Writers' Night Out is a North Carolina Writers' Network-West event on the second Friday of the month.

We will continue via Zoom for now.