Valerie Nieman is a novelist and poet whose work draws on her life in Appalachia and the South. Her most recent novel, Blood Clay, was a story of the New South that won the Eric Hoffer Award in General Fiction and was a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Prize.
She was longtime a journalist but now is a professor of creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University. She was a founding editor of Kestrel and currently the poetry editor of Prime Number magazine.
From 2013-2014 Val was a North Carolina Arts Council poetry fellow and received an NEA creative writing fellowship as well as major grants in West Virginia and Kentucky. Her second poetry collection, Hotel Worthy, poems about love, loss, and survival, is being published mid-March 2015 by Press 53 and is also available through Amazon.
► Val's Origami micro-chapbook & selected poem are available below. Download the single-page micro-chapbook by clicking the title. To read the selected poem, also click on the title.
Cover: Aurora Borealis near Banff, Alberta
From - richfed.wordpress.com
Trust water only from springs:
Creeks and rivers murmur of white quartz,
willow shade, minnows flashing silver sides -
dissembling the doe, dead upstream.
Place no hands where eyes haven’t been:
A rock ledge on a warm March morning
crawls with snakes knotted around nothing
but the expectation of an open palm.
Douse a fire twice, then cover with dirt:
One ember can smolder a resinous root
to flame that runs to bedded leaves, spruce
boughs, trunks fingering fire straight to the sky.
Carry it in full, take it out empty:
But mistakes, hollow as bottles, get heavier
the longer they are carried, the farther
you try to haul them.
Valerie Nieman © 2015
Selections from Hotel Worthy
published by press53.com