Showing posts with label Blue Ridge Writers' Conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blue Ridge Writers' Conference. Show all posts

Monday, January 25, 2016

Blue Ridge Writers' Conference, Blue Ridge, GA, April 8 & 9, 2016

Please note that registration is now open for the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference, coming up April 8 and 9, 2016, to be held at the Art Center in Blue Ridge, GA.

Submissions for critique at the conference must be received at the Art Center by March 3 to be considered, and there is a discount price for the conference if you register before March 14.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Habit of Mercy, Carol Crawford's Poetry Collection

Carol Crawford, Texas native living in Georgia now, has published a poetry book, The Habit of Mercy, about daughters and mothers. She knows this subject well. She raised three girls, all grown up now.

I met Carol in 1996. I attended my first NCWN West poetry critique group and, because there is a God, she was the facilitator. She liked my poetry, for the most part, and in a blind contest she judged the next year, she chose my poem, Tomato Man, for first place. I have always admired Carol's quiet demeanor and appreciated her gentle critique that never failed to improve my work.

She gave me advice on where to submit my poems. Carol went up to Berea, KY to accept an award and met the editor of Appalachian Heritage literary journal, Danny Miller.

“He is taking a job as poetry editor at the Journal of Kentucky Studies,” she told me. “He invited me to send him some poems. I think you should send some of your work.”

I trusted her judgement. I submitted three poems. The editor accepted one of them. Never was I so proud as when I saw my poem right next to Carol’s comic put poignant “You’re Not My Dog.” Some of our Netwest members will remember that poem from Carol's readings.

For years I’ve looked forward to when Carol would publish a poetry collection. The Habit of Mercy is a book for mothers and daughters. The pangs of watching them grow up, knowing one day the protected and beloved child will face the world as a woman on her own is almost too painful when I read these lines from The Shoes.

She whips the box lid off
and shows me her new shoes.
They are doorstops.
Clunky bricks.
Their four-inch heels
will make her taller than her father,
will put her ahead of us somehow.
I make expected mother-sounds,
predict sprained ankles,
groan about the weird
things kids wear.
But I am thinking
they will take her
out of reach, beyond protection,
closer to those dangers
she is falling in love with
even now.

Repetitive Use brings to mind the constant chorus heard from mothers of young children. That twinge in a joint that was not there last week is a malady recognized only by mothers who become cross-country parents taking kids to academic competition, soccer games, band performances, dental appointments and all the myriad places children must go and must be driven. There is a pathos in these poems, a mother relinquishing her umbrella of protection, letting go. Letting her children test their wings, knowing as they do that she, as did her mother, must accept a new role.

It set in at a time I can’t remember
on the trek from cradle to crayon to college
when something in the sinew softened,
something near the bone gave way.

Maybe the poem I most relate to is Grand. Remember a special event you longed to share with your mom? It begins with these words.

Where do I send
the prom portraits
of my girl
now that you are gone?

With so many poems in this book that I love to read over and over, I can’t give them full measure in this short space. Take my word for it. You just have to get the book.

Carol Crawford graduated from Baylor University. Originally from Texas, she now lives in the North Georgia mountains where she is director of FLAG Adult Education and volunteer coordinator for the annual Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference. She lives with her husband Len, tennis addict and rabid UGA fan. When not knitting, writing, or wrangling dogs Dash and Laddie, she is probably emailing her daughters.

To order The Habit of Mercy, contact Carol Crawford,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blue Ridge Writers' Conference - Blue Ridge, Georgia

You don't want to miss the Blue Ridge Writers Conference in its fourteenth year.
The Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference is back for its 14th year, featuring literary agent Sally McMillan as keynote and speakers Robert Brewer, editor of Writers’ Market, Scott Owens, editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, Jennifer Jabaley, 2010 Georgia Author of the Year in the YA category, and Hope Clark, editor of Funds for Writers website.

April 1 and 2, 2011. Please note a location change – this year the conference will be at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association in downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia.
For more information call 706-632-2144.
If you haven't attended this conference in the past, April 1 is the Friday night reception. Saturday, April 2, is the all day conference with workshops, etc. If you want to learn about publishing, this conference should be on your list of events for 2011.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blue Ridge Writers' Conference in its fourteenth year

Blue Ridge Writers' Conference will be held in Blue Ridge, Georgia just south of the Western NC line on April 1 and 2 .

Go to their beautiful website to see the schedule of presenters and to complete an application.

Some Netwest members will be signing books at the Friday evening Reception which is a special Meet and Greet event for writers to meet the presenters.

Carol Crawford, one of the leaders of Netwest years ago, leads this conference each year and brings in outstanding speakers. This year Hope Clark of Funds for Writers will be on hand to personally give us some of the advice she doles out in her newsletter and on her blog. Scott Owens, poet from Hickory, will speak about online journals and talk from his experience as an editor.
For other presenters, visit the website.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Poetry by Robert Kimsey

Robert W. Kimsey, a retired Technical Writer/Illustrator lives in the north Georgia mountains where he writes. He is a member of the Kentucky Poetry Society, the Blue Ridge Poets and Writers, and the North Carolina Writers' Network West. His chapbook, Paths From the Shawnee Spring, was published in 2005. In 2007, he led a workshop at the Blue Ridge Writer's Conference. Robert was also a participant at the Georgia Literary Festival that same year. His poems have won numerous awards. When he isn't writing poetry, Robert volunteers to teach poetry to middle and high school students in local schools. His poetry has a deep sense of place, his Kentucky landscape, and the characters he shares with deep insight, stay with me long after I close the book. The following are a few of my favorite Robert Kimsey poems.

Old Soldier

Sitting on the loading dock,
some damn fool would always say
something to get him started.
A word or phrase, a headline or jab
would send him down that road.

It was never those of us
who had been in the service.
When it started we’d look away,
down at our feet,
zone out to another place.

His face would go gray, he’d shake
and look across the years and
even in January the sweat
would drip from his nose
along with the tears.
And he’d tell the story again.

You could almost see him in that foxhole,
back in France, fighting for his breath.
The German tank above him,
his guys down the road firing everything
they had at it and him screaming
every time the tank shelled their position.

The dirt in his mouth,
the smell of gunpowder and urine all around.
All day buried until the tank moved off
and his pals came and dug him out.

It always ended the same,
him wiping the tears on his sleeve,
embarrassed, gathering his lunch box,
limping back to the storeroom.

The damn fools who started it all
headed back to work, laughing and giggling.
Those of us who avoided crowds,
always faced the door,
flinched at loud noises,
just sat there
struggling for breath.

Riding Shanks Mare

We never worried about miles.
Two miles, four miles, any miles.
We rode shanks mare more times as not,
and along the way visited with the porch
rockers, the fence leaners, the hat wavers.
Brogans or bare feet told the season.

If we had to go, we just up and started out.
Sometimes we’d catch a ride with someone
going our way, and if we was lucky we’d meet
them coming back, and they’d drop us at the mailbox.

If we wasn’t having a lucky day
we’d have to hold our pokes hard against our coat
so they didn’t blow off the bridge and into the river.
I always feared I’d slip on the ice,
slide right off that bridge.

Some days we didn’t have the toll,
then we had to go another way.
Daddy always said they ought to be horse whipped
for charging a body to walk a bridge.


How many of us crossed the Ohio for jobs and education,
ate in diners and beer joints while searching for our
own people; making little Kentucky communities
wherever we could? Always living in
South something,
West End something,
Lower something.

How many of us sat and told stories about home after
working double shifts at the shoe factories, or sweated
on assembly lines; used our last dollars for gas so we
could spend a few hours smelling honeysuckle and
visiting around the Sunday table,
before heading back north?

How many of us died in coal mines or driving
gravel trucks down snake-back roads so we could
hang onto a small piece of sacred mountain land
that our kin had fought to keep, after riding flat boats
down a river into the unknown?

How many of us would push the dirt off our faces,
stand up out of our graves, put on our boots and
do it all over again?

All of us who call ourselves Kentuckians would.