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North Carolina on the Map and in the News

preface the word “impermanence” and how barrier islands are places to appreciate the “natural rhythms rather than become attached to any particular current state” (ix). It is this state of not being permanent, of being free to change, of being “surrounded by the cycles of nature” (11) that draws Blevins’s interest. The moments he captures with his photographs, though fleeting, mirror timeless scenes along these seashore stretches. Such moments are visible while looking at the sharply focused sanderlings probing wet sand or a dawn lightdrenched tide line of scattered

and broken shells, “relicts of the distant past” (2). How many of us have looked closely into the eyes of a seaside grasshopper or the whitelip globe snail? As you pay particular attention to the photographs of birds flocked together, you will keep in mind his preface statement that “we modern humans do not share our world as well as our fellow creatures do” (ix). Traveling the entire length of North Carolina’s coast today certainly reveals the impact of human hands along our seashore and the importance therefore of the places that have been set aside for these wonders of sand, sea, and sky.



Though representing different experiences of life at the water’s edge, these three authors share an understanding that to continue loving places of constant change such as our barrier islands, we must be willing to make sacrifices, accept change, and move forward. Life at the edge of the sea can indeed be difficult but rewarding. Stories of adaptation are endless – from seasoned islanders descended from early settlers to each grain of sand. As Blevins writes, “Edges are special places, where species from one environment meet species from another” (90). n


ABOVE Ann Cary Simpson presents the Caldwell Award

to her husband, Bland Simpson, at the UNC Friday Conference Center, Chapel Hill, 27 Oct. 2017


Bland Simpson received the 2017 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities in recognition of his achievements as a professor, an environmentalist, an author, a musician, and a public humanities advocate. This honor will be of no surprise to NCLR’s regular readers, who have met the author wearing each of these hats in our pages: Professor Bland Simpson’s former student Nathan Dixon reflects upon his teacher’s influence upon his own writing aspirations in an NCLR 2016 issue; Simpson’s essay about the Cashie River appeared in NCLR 2011, which featured environmental writing; his books have been reviewed in several back issues; he wrote about his experiences in musical theatre in a 2009 issue essay; and he advocates for the value of the humanities in the essay that opened NCLR’s 2013 issue. You’ll find another Simpson essay in our 2018 print issue due out later this year. Currently the Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at UNC Chapel Hill, Simpson is a two-time recipient of the Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching, and he has won dozens of other awards, including the R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award for literary achievement, given by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, and the North Carolina Award in Fine Arts, given by the state governor. He is the author of nine books, including, most recently, Little Rivers & Waterway Tales, which was reviewed in NCLR Online 2017, and he is the pianist for the Tony Award-winning band The Red Clay Ramblers and the Coastal Cohorts.

Simpson serves on the board of the North Carolina Coastal Federation and at their thirty-fifth anniversary celebration in Morehead City, he expressed his enduring commitment to the environment with this challenge to his audience: “Let us be the Clean Water State, for ourselves, for our children and our children’s children, and as an exemplar for our sister states, and for lands and peoples well beyond our borders. Fellow citizens, working together for a healthy coast, let us make our many waters living models to the world!”* Simpson has been and continues to be an inspiration to many, and he is an eminently worthy recipient of this award. n

* “Bland Simpson’s 35th Anniversary Toast,” North Carolina Coastal Federation 8 Aug. 2017: web.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

North Carolina Literary Review Online 2018  

A literary review published online annually by East Carolina University and by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.