Saturday, December 17, 2011


       What a great gathering of women in this anthology edited by Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham!  And what a great Christmas gathering of several of those writers at the Coffee with the Poets at City Lights Bookstore this past Thursday!  We nearly had standing room only, and I can't credit the Milky Way Cake of my Piece of Cake Laureate poem fame, though the plate was clean by the time we left. The credit belongs to these writers and the two savvy editors who put together a diverse group of voices from 50 Western North Carolina Women Writers.

Books and cake and coffee! It doesn't get any better than this!

For a wonderful post about this anthology, please go to Kaye W. Barley's fine blog, Meanderings and Musings.   Here you will find information for ordering this book, as well as details about the cover artist and the editors.

You can order WOMAN'S SPACES, WOMAN'S PLACES  online from City Lights Bookstore.

Writers who read from their anthologized work are standing behind the editors, Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham. ( I'm sitting beside Celia.)  They are, from left to right, Beth Moore, Janie Mae Jones McKinley, Marian Gowan, Martha O'Quinn, Jennifer McGaha, JC Walkup, and Glenda Beall.  

Celia and Nancy asked me to begin by reading Peg Rhodes' poem, which I was happy to do, finding it moving and oh so resonant at this stage in my life. Peg was unable to be with us.


I am older and wiser now.
I have climbed to the peak
Of Transition Mountain
Where footing is rocky and sharp
And the downward view 
Is perilous and real.

Courage, my heart, as you scan
The lonely panorama of Aging.
Make the careful descent
From denial to acceptance
Aware of the wild flowers
Peeping from the crevices.

Adjustment is the order of the day--
And the long nights.

***Peg Rhodes, political activist and humanist, has written poems most of her life.  At ninety, she continues to write and publish.

Janie Mae Jones McKinley reads from her selection,  "On Bear Mountain."  We could all go with her as she remembered walking with her grandfather to Naybin's general store, the aromas of onions, hoop cheese, fertilizer, and oiled wood floors filling our imaginations.  And candy!  She had even brought small bags of old-fashioned penny candy to give to each one of us.

                        JC Walkup chats with Glenda Beall before the program begins.  J.C's towel buying saga left us laughing like school girls, while Glenda's moving poem about her grief after the loss of her husband left us hushed.

Martha O'Quinn, Marian Gowan, and Beth Moore get caffeinated before Celia and Nancy begin their introduction.   Martha's poem gave us imagery to carry home, as good poetry always manages to do.  Marian, a quilter, described a special quilting retreat on the NC coast. (Maybe I should finally take up quilting before it's too late!)  And Beth's lovely recollection a trip to Kenya captured the spirit of the season in a profound and lyrical way.

Jennifer McGaha's "Vampire Run" was hilarious and expertly crafted.  But don't take my word about how good these poems and stories are.
Over the next few days I'll be posting them, or excerpts,  to highlight  that morning's celebration of mountain women's voices.  Keep dropping by to read them.
And order the book for Christmas, if you haven't already.    It's not too late!

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