Showing posts with label NCWN-West. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NCWN-West. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Literary Hour at JCCFS, Brasstown, NC, to feature Joan Ellen Gage, Bob Grove, and Carroll S. Taylor on Wednesday, April 17, 2019

On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at 7:00 PM, John C. Campbell Folk School and NC Writers' Network-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 Joan Ellen Gage, Bob Grove, and Carroll S. Taylor. For more information on this event, please contact Mary Ricketson at:

Joan Ellen Gage is an author of humor and inspiration written from her own unique perspective. Her recipe for her writing focuses on staying upbeat and laughing at her own foibles. Gage’s photos are the spice in the mix that serve to punctuate the writing and add that special garnish to her creations. 

Joan has written and published five books, Water Running Downhill, Embracing Your Inner Cheerleader, A Redhead Looks At 60, Trinity's Adventures in Imagination, and a special edition of Water Running Downhill! the Rose Edition, as a tribute to her friend Rose Macedo Kull. All of the books are available on Amazon. Currently, Gage is working on a new book entitled: Words of Defiance and Empowerment.

Gage is a former administrator for the NCWN-West blog. Additionally, Ms. Gage has two blogs, Traveling at the Speed of Now,,and A Redhead Blogs at 60,

Bob Grove: Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Bob holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University and a Master of Science degree from Florida Atlantic University. His diversified curriculum qualified him to teach high school courses in biology, anatomy and physiology, earth and space science, astronomy and space science, psychology, English, journalism, and creative writing.  

 Bob was an ABC-TV public affairs director and on-air program host, and founder and publisher of Monitoring Times Magazine. He has published 19 books and hundreds of articles in 23 magazines. Additionally, he has published a mystery novella, Secrets of Magnolia Manor, his memoir, Misadventures of an Only Child, a collection of children’s stories: Adventures of Kaylie and Jimmy, and many flash fiction stories as well as some poetry. Grove’s books can be found on Amazon.

Grove is prose critique facilitator for the North Carolina Writers Network and a co-facilitator of the Ridgeline Literary Alliance.

Carroll S. Taylor grew up in rural West Central Georgia. A graduate of Tift College (Mercer University) with a BA in French, she holds graduate degrees in French and English as well as an EdS in Educational Leadership. An educator for forty-three years, Taylor taught French, English, Journalism, Creative Writing, and ESL, and advised students to create and publish school newspapers and yearbooks. After retirement, she moved on to her second career as a part-time instructor at Columbus State University, teaching freshman composition. 

Taylor is the author of two young adult novels, Chinaberry Summer and Chinaberry Summer: On the Other Side. She is currently writing the third novel in the series, Chinaberry Summer: Down by the Water. Her books emphasize generational storytelling and respect for the valuable role of reptiles and amphibians in our ecosystem. One of the personal highlights of publishing her novels was her book reading held in the childhood home of Carson McCullers. 

Readers may find her journal blog at, and  follow her at: .

Carroll is a member of North Carolina Writers’ Network, North Carolina Writers’ Network-West, and the Georgia Poetry Society.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Simpson Beck Student Writing Contest to resume in April 2019

The Simpson Beck Writing Contest for Clay County Middle and High School will be held in April of this year. This contest is named for the late poet, Nancy Simpson, and for Reba Beck, retired art teacher for Clay County Schools. The categories for 2019, will be writing Poetry and Personal Essay. The contest commences on April 5, 2019, and the turn-in date for the entries is April 15. The winners will be announced at the Hayesville High Lecture Hall, on Tuesday, April 23rd, at 7:00 PM. 

This year’s judges are: Rosemary Rhodes Royston, for Poetry, and Janice Townley Moore and Carroll S. Taylor for Personal Essay.

Rosemary Rhodes Royston holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University and is a lecturer at Young Harris College, Georgia. She is the author of Splitting the Soil (Finishing Line Press). Royston's poetry has been published in journals such as Appalachian Heritage, Split Rock Review, Southern Poetry Review, KUDZU, Town Creek Review, and *82 Review. She’s the VP for Planning and Special Projects at Young Harris College, where she teaches the occasional creative writing course. 

Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she was the recipient of the 2010 Literal Latte Food Verse Award, received Honorable Mention in a George Scarborough Poetry Contest, at the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, and her short fiction being selected as Honorable Mention in the Porter Fleming Literary Awards, 2012. 

Royston is treasurer for the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West.

Janice Townley Moore, who lives in Hayesville, NC, is an Atlanta native and Associate Professor Emerita of English at Young Harris College. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Connecticut Review, Southern Poetry Review, Poetry East, and The Journal of the American Medical Association

Moore's chapbook, Teaching the Robins, was published by Finishing Line Press. Among the anthologies that include her poems are The Bedford Introduction to Literature, and three volumes of: The Southern Poetry Anthology: Contemporary Appalachia, Georgia, and North Carolina from Texas Review Press. 

Moore serves as the coordinator of the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West poetry critique group, is a Rep for the North Carolina Writers’ Network-West and is on the poetry editorial board of The Pharos, publication of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Carroll S. Taylor is a graduate of Tift College (Mercer University) with a BA in French. She holds graduate degrees in French and English as well as an EdS in Educational Leadership. She was an educator for forty-three years. As a secondary teacher, she taught French, English, Journalism, Creative Writing, and ESL. She advised students in the creation and publication of school newspapers and yearbooks. After her retirement, Taylor moved on to her second career as a part-time instructor at Columbus State University, teaching freshman composition. 

She is the author of two young adult novels, Chinaberry Summer and Chinaberry Summer: On the Other Side. She is currently writing the third novel in the series, Chinaberry Summer: Down by the Water. Her books emphasize generational storytelling and respect for the valuable role of reptiles and amphibians in our ecosystem. One of the personal highlights of publishing her novels was her book reading held in the childhood home of Carson McCullers. 

Carroll is a member of North Carolina Writers’ Network, and the Georgia Poetry Society. Readers may find her journal blog at

Reba Beck, a former Art Instructor for Clay County Schools, and the President of the Clay County Historical and Arts Council, and Joan Ellen Gage, of North Carolina Writers’ Network West are sponsoring the Simpson Beck Student Writing Contest. High School English instructor Carla T. Beck, who is integral to this writing contest, is the contact for Clay County Middle and High School.

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:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Interview with Karen Paul Holmes

This is an interview with poet and member of  NCWN-West, Karen Paul Holmes. It was published online last year.

May 14, 2018

GCB: Your new book is No Such Thing as Distance, published by Terrapin Books. Did you have a particular audience in mind with this collection?
KPH: First of all, thanks so much for this interview, Glenda.
My goal is to create poems that touch people in some way—through an aha-moment, a connection to the subject or image, a shared laugh, etc.  By people, I mean anyone, not a specific audience. When I chose poems for this manuscript, I did have themes in mind but hoped the book would appeal to a variety of readers. The interwoven themes are family (especially Macedonian cultural traditions), music, nature, grief, and healing. I included a few traditional recipes at the back of the book, because cooking together is one ways my family connects, and, of course, that’s pretty much universal. 

GCB: I like getting to know your parents in the poems in your latest book. I had the pleasure of meeting your mother when she came to my studio, when my dog stole her lunch. She was a good sport. She must have loved your father intensely to leave Australia to marry him and live in the United States.  In the poem, “Matilda Waltzing,” we sense she harbored homesickness, as any of us would likely feel. Did she tell you she was homesick and that she missed her family in Australia?
KPH: It’s funny you brought up your dog stealing her lunch, because my dog stole her Angelo’s Coney Island hot dog once! That was my dad’s restaurant in Flint, Michigan, and the recipe for the secret sauce is in the book. Anyway, I don’t ever remember my mother using the word “homesick,” but she always talked longingly about Australia, and she really hated Michigan winters. After she moved to Florida, she felt more at home in the tropical climate, but I think she remained nostalgic about the home and family she left Down Under—she only returned twice to visit. My siblings and I used to time how long it would take her to tell a stranger that she was from Australia – usually under five minutes. To be fair, though, she still had some of her accent, and people would often ask where she was from. But when she answered, she made it seem like she was just visiting the US temporarily, which says a lot about her strong roots.

GCB: “Macedonian Bean Soup” surprised me. It hails back to your marriage, your ex-husband, and your father. Food brings forth stronger memories than almost anything, and I enjoyed the image of your husband and your father cooking the soup. Have you made this soup?
KPH: Yes, I found my ex’s handwritten notes and made the soup for the first time last year. The poem says “Perhaps one day, I’ll make it myself,” and so I thought, “What’s stopping me?” It was yummy and just like my dad would make. I’m kind of sorry some of the poems mention my ex, but certain events or themes always seem to slip into our writing, don’t they? So I just have to accept that. The 31-year marriage was a huge part of my life, after all, and affects how I am today.

GCB: You make poems from the most mundane sometimes. We see how observant you are of nature and the world around you. Tell me about your writing process for “Ant Fest.”
KPH: My process is almost always the same. Something gets into my head—usually a line or a title—and sometimes that something turns into a whole poem that might meander into an entirely different something, like how killing the ants turns into releasing frustrations for all sorts of past events. I think in this case, the ants’ drunkenness seemed funny and interesting to me, hence the first two lines, “Drunk on liquid bait, they stumble/ across the white bathroom tile.” If I remember correctly, those lines started out as the poem’s opening and remained through all my revisions, though often I move things around when editing.

GCB: “Confessions of an Ugly Nightgown” is one of my favorite poems. This is a persona poem. How did this idea come to you? Did your mother talk about her life growing up in Australia?

KPH: That’s quite an old poem, perhaps the first one I wrote about my mother. The title came to me first, so then I had to try telling the story through the nightgown’s viewpoint, and it seemed to work. Yes, my mom talked about Australia all the time, and she had lots of old family photos. Aussie relatives had come to visit over the years, so I heard their stories too. My mother really didn’t keep many things from her past, but the nightgown was always just sort of there in a box, and then somehow I ended up with it. As I grew into young adulthood, I started appreciating the loyalty and bravery it took for my mother to sail across the world to marry someone she couldn’t have known all that well. I felt compelled to write about that, and the nightgown’s journey seemed like one way to do it.

GCB: I have always been drawn to looking into lit windows of houses as I pass by, where strangers live and families gather. Your poem, “Road Stories,” grabbed me, and I will read this one often. What prompted this poem?
KPH: I started keeping a list of road names that were funny or intriguing. I often wonder about how a road got its name, but like you, I also wonder about people inside, especially when it’s dark and the lights are on. So, I don’t know how, but the poem started emerging and then traveling to different places (which seemed appropriate for a “road” poem), ending up with Dorothy in Kansas!

GCB: Although it is unusual for a poet to submit the same manuscript more than once to the same publisher, you sent this one to Terrapin Books a second time after it was first rejected a year or so before. Why did you think it would be accepted the second time around?
KPH: Well, I had no idea about my chances of acceptance the second time, but because the editor had given me constructive feedback on the first submission, I thought she cared enough about my work to take a second look. So I emailed her, saying I’d made revisions based on her input (mostly about the order of poems) and asking whether she’d like to see it again. And she said yes! The moral of the story is: Pay attention when editors (of journals or books) take the time to give you feedback on a submission or otherwise give you encouragement, and don’t be afraid to resubmit.

GCB: You have been quite successful publishing your poetry in journals and reviews. Your first poetry book was well received. What advice can you give to poets who want to see their books published by a reputable press? Is there a special tip you can offer a poet to make their work acceptable?
KPH: I did what my mentor, the poet Nancy Simpson, suggested: Get your poems published in journals first. Usually, that means a lot of work perfecting your poems, hopefully by attending workshops or critique groups, and then submitting to lots of journals. My acceptance rate ranges from 6%-13%, so that means I submitted many poems over several years to get into the publications I’ve been in so far. Duotrope, the submission tracker I use and recommend, says my ratio is “higher than the average for members who have submitted to the same places.” For the last two years, I made it a point to only submit to journals who take less than 5% of the poems they receive. While my ratio went down, my credentials went up because I got into some top journals.
You have to get used to rejection. My friend, the poet Maren Mitchell, helped me to see it as almost a game. When she gets rejected, she says, “Yippee! Time to do more submissions!”
In the submission guidelines for chapbooks or full-length manuscripts, publishers will usually require that a certain number of the poems have previously appeared in reputable publications.
GCB: You attended the AWP Conference in Tampa, Florida. Please tell us about that experience. What were the highlights of the conference for you?
KPH: AWP is huge—10,000 writers—so it’s better if you go with someone, which I did. I loved hearing David Kirby, Mark Doyy, Natalie Shapero, and others read their poems, and I met poets and editors that I had only known online. I was honored that the editor of Lascaux Review, Stephen Parrish who lives in Germany, came to my book signing and bought a book. I will say, though, that I prefer to attend workshops led by an accomplished poet where you revise and edit your work for a week or so. I loved the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, San Miquel (Mexico) Poetry Workshop, and the Sarah Lawrence Summer Seminar, and highly recommend them for improving your work and making connections with other writers. 
GCB: You teach writing and host writing events. Why do you think poets should take classes and participate in literary events?
KPH: Writing can be a lonely pursuit. Classes and critique groups are invaluable for improving your work and getting inspired to create more. By attending readings, you learn other writers’ work (and hearing it is very special), and you support writers who are as passionate about the craft as you are. Networking events are good for your poetry “career” and for making friends who share a common interest. I love my poet friends. I am a better person and poet because of my connections with other poets. My critique group and the North Carolina Writers’ Network have been an invaluable support system. Here’s an article I wrote about starting and running a critique group.
GCB: Thank you, Karen, for answering these questions.

About the interviewer: Glenda Council Beall is a poet, blogger, memoirist and writing teacher. She’s the author of a poetry book, Now Might as Well be Then (Finishing Line Press, 2009) and a family history, Profiles and Pedigrees, Thomas Charles Council and His Descendants (Genealogy Publishing Co. 1998). Her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in Reunions Magazine, Main Street Rag, Appalachian Heritage, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Your Daily Poem, Wild Goose Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology: North Carolina, and many other places. Her poems have won awards in the James Still Poetry Contest and the Clay County NC Poetry Contest. Beall is the Program Coordinator for the western region of the North Carolina Writers’ Network and has taught memoir at John C. Campbell Folk School, Tri-County Community College, and Writers Circle around the Table.

About the poet: Karen Paul Holmes has two full-length poetry collections, No Such Thing as Distance (Terrapin, 2018) and Untying the Knot (Aldrich, 2014). She was chosen as a Best Emerging Poet in 2016 by Stay Thirsty Media. Publications include Prairie Schooner, Valparaiso Review, Tar River Poetry, diode, Poet Lore, and other journals and anthologies. Holmes hosts The Side Door Poets in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s a freelance business writer and teaches creative writing workshops.