Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Wednesday, April 6, 2011

POET OF THE DAY: Valerie Nieman


Valerie Nieman is a poet, novelist, short story writer, travel writer, literary magazine editor, and teacher. Her third novel, Blood Clay, is being published by Press 53. Set in rural North Carolina, it focuses on our crucial need for community and the cost exacted for truth-telling. Her 2000 novel Survivors took readers into the hard lives and hard times of a West Virginia factory town in the early 1970s. Fred Chappell said, “Survivors is a jolt to the system…. Valerie Nieman pulls no punches. What she calls ‘unleashed reality’ roars through every sentence. Unforgettable.” Her first novel, Neena Gathering, was a science fiction tale set in the Appalachians. Fidelities, her collection of short fiction, features stories set in rural areas from the Alleghenies to the Carolina Piedmont, most of them published in journals such as The Kenyon Review and Arts & Letters, and in anthologies such as Degrees of Elevation and Racing Home: New Stories by Award-Winning North Carolina Authors. Her poetry collection, Wake Wake Wake, was published in 2006. Her work has been selected in two national chapbook competitions and appeared in such journals as Poetry, North Carolina Literary Review, Blackbird, New Letters, REDiViDER, and the Southern Poetry Review, as well as numerous anthologies, most recently After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events and Southern Appalachian Poetry: An Anthology of Works by 37 Poets.




Two April poems from Wake Wake Wake



First Generation

(First published in Tar River Poetry)



You spade the kitchen garden

each spring, turning the fine,

dark dirt loose from the years.

Gladiolas you planted for your dead wife

sprout again, sharpened green,

opening smaller and smaller

yellow faces that wag red tongues.


You mutter peasant German

going backward in the row,

planting potatoes

under a dark moon,

planting peas, planting cabbage

by the signs.

Does the seed know

those stick-shaped words

you never taught me?


At night you walk the rooms

of an unwarmed house,

your steps too short

for a man as tall as you have been.

You write letters in pencil

on blue-lined paper, careful English

dancing in German shoes.

The table where you work is ring-marked:

for years it held plants on saucers, cuttings.

When she died, these died also.

After a time, you stacked the pots

in the cellar.


You write me letters

telling of the cold, of summers

that are shorter and shorter,

and I am south, feeling the sun

earlier and later,

feeling here that I have failed my blood.


Your eyes have become paler blue,

and I would want to say

the color of March sky,

thin lines on paper,

or lilac petals, faded.

They measure out

this distance between us,

the rivers and the days,

and mark out the unseasonable shadows

that sharpen along the road home.



Hanging Up Clothes

(First published in The Greenfield Review)


Out in the last fine rain,

the light red in the west,

after the storm.

A delight for the eye

and tomorrow.


A deer comes from the wood line

and stands deep in daisies,

watching.

My white-flag work

does not frighten her.

The red light glows

in her summer coat.


The light is red.

The deer grazes.

I move from line to line.










2 comments:

nene said...

Thank you for posting and highlighting these wonderful writers. Otherwise, I would not be exposed to such lovely music. Although I write some prose and verse myself on my blog (www.nene-lifewhispers.blogspot.com), I usually am reading non-fiction material and delve, nakedly, into my political blog (marcoopinion-nene.blogspot) and don't pick up this type of genre that you're highlighting. Much appreciated!

Nancy Simpson said...

Kay, thank you for this mighty collection of "a poet a day" during National Poetry Month. It is the best way to celebrate. I have read every poem and learned more about each poet. Thank you.

I especially like these poems by Valerie Nieman because we mostly get fiction from her. I first met her as a poet long ago when her first poetry chapbook was published by State Street Press, and I still think of her as a poet. Later I met Val through a NCWN West workshop and at John C. Campbell Folk School where she sometimes teaches.

Keep the poems coming.