“Hunkering Down” & the book “New Ground” by Nancy Dillingham

Nancy Dillingham – one of Mountain Made’s most popular local poets – will be our “virtual demo” artist for the year. This means that Nancy will be sharing her poetry and her 2020 experiences through her writings with our online audience every week.

We will publish one of Nancy’s 2020 poems and a short review of one her book each and every Friday (Lord willing and the Corona don’t raise) right here on the Mountain Made blog. We invite you to sign up for our newsletter for updates.

Now for this week’s submission…


Nancy Dillingham’s book NEW GROUND is a book of poems and short prose that is strongly evocative of time and place and unified by her unique voice and theme.  There is a strong sense of irony throughout her work that resonates like the poignancy of a warm Southern day.

What the Author Says…

Nancy Dillingham said of her book “New Ground” (1998), “It was inspired by what I consider my “idyllic,” yet poignant, childhood—growing up in the small then-isolated community of Dillingham in Big Ivy in WNC  [near Barnardsville, NC]. I pay homage to it in the author’s note, calling it “the wellspring of my vision.”

What Readers Say About New Ground

In his review of the book, Rob Neufeld, long-time book editor for Asheville Citizen-Times, called it “a hymn of youthful yearning and a dirge of fatality.”

“I have just finished reading this book for the fifth time. I return because its stories haunt my heart. When I spot it on my bookshelf, I wonder if it is as good as I remember, and I pull it down and reread a story, and find that I am keeping it at hand to search for stories and passages which are seared into that place in me which loves words and language. These stories are like snippets of dreams you grope for when you wake. This writer is a master of the subtle, and her imagery can both pull you in and pierce you at the same time”. – Scotty Dockery


“This compilation of short stories and poems is eloquently written with a haunting tone that will remain with the reader long after the book is finished. Dillingham begins with the story of a young woman given to an older man by her father in exchange for land, setting the tone for this collection dealing with relationships, familial and not, each so elegantly presented the reader will not be satisfied with one reading but, rather, will want to return again and again simply to absorb the exquisite poetic cadence of her prose.” Christy Tillery French

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