Nancy Posey: Poet Interview

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Our next Top 25 poet from the 2013 April PAD Challenge is Nancy Posey. She's one of the more active poets on this blog, but she's also an incredible reader. Tammy and me watched her and Jane Shlensky in Hickory, North Carolina, last year--and it was a great experience.

Since Nancy is a previous winner of the November PAD Chapbook Challenge, I figured today was an appropriate one to feature her poem and interview. Learn more about her at


Here's her Top 25 poem:

Work, by Nancy Posey

I eavesdropped on their talk, pure poetry
to me, too young to walk along beside
them as they worked their garden. He,
all talk of out of doors, and she, inside,
of hoes and post hole diggers, mule and plow,
of washtubs, canning jars and rings and lids.
I dreamed of helping but did not know how.
I dreamed of someday farming as they did.
He kept the inventory in his head;
She kept a shopping list beside the sink.
His barn was his cathedral, and his shed,
his inner sanctum where he went to think.
Her kitchen was her castle and her keep.
The language of their work rocked me to sleep.


Where are you located?

I've lived in North Carolina--the "Writingest State"--for about 18 years. What a great place to be a writer. I am so fortunate, as you know, to be a part of Poetry Hickory, a vibrant community of writers and poetry lovers meeting downtown the second Tuesday of every month. I have also made so many great writing friends through Poetry Society of North Carolina and the North Carolina Writers Network.

Who are your favorite poets?

I could give an easy answer and say Shakespeare (since I'm teaching him in Brit Lit right now) but honestly, my favorite poet, like my favorite book, changes from day to day. I love discovering new ones. In fact, my students in Lit are assigned to write their poetry essay on a poet living and writing in the 21st century. (Not only does that help avoid Spark Notes essays, but I get to learn some new poets too.) A lot of my favorite poets are those I've met here on PA.

As a reader, what do you like most in poems?

Even when I was little, I loved the music of poetry, the way it sounded: Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Swing" was the first real poem I remembered memorizing. We would beg our fifth and sixth grade teacher Mrs. Hopper to read Whittier's "Skipper Ireson's Ride" to us (over and over). I love a poem that surprises me. I love clever word play.

What were your goals for the 2013 April PAD Challenge?

My goal for the challenge is my goal with every prompt--to write enough poem drafts to harvest some nuggets worth polishing and then sharing.

What's next for you?

I'm going to see if I can keep up with the November Chapbook Challenge and NaNoWriMo in the same month. I also have a little idea for an anthology that's rolling around in the back of my head. Just wait!

One another note: Jane Shlensky, another top 25-er and a regular form challenge winner has been a good friend for years. We have a session we've presented at English teachers' conference we call: Teachers as Writers: How Can We Teach What We Don't Do? When we first started the session, we were pathetic hypocrites who were thinking more about being writers than actually writing. The teamwork made us push and encourage each other to realize we are poets too.


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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer's Digest Writing Community and has had the pleasure of meeting Nancy Posey in Hickory, North Carolina. One of his favorite things to do is meet poets who frequent Poetic Asides. He may meet you someday when you least expect it. Until then, follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer and share comments on his blog (the one you're reading right now).


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