Sunday, March 26, 2017

Kimberly at Arbor Springs Elementary School: 2nd Grade!

I am thrilled to be visiting Arbor Springs Elementary School in Coweta, GA this week!

We are going to be using creative writing and tableau to learn about emotions and poetry!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lindy Lee: Songs On Mill Hill by Kimberly Simms set to release on September 15, 2017

Lindy Lee: Songs on Mill Hill features over 40 poems based on the history and landscape of Carolina and Georgia textile mill workers from the 1910s to the 1960s. The poems focus on the fictional character of Lindy Lee, her family, and their mill village. Although these poems aspire to portray Southern mill workers as accurately as possible, they constitute a creative work of fiction. Most result from the synthesis of stories gleaned from personal accounts, site visits, newspaper articles, and historical volumes. The poems explore the emotional turmoil, physical hardships, and joys of Southern women and their families in the textile industry.

Pre-sales start in May!!

“Kimberly Simms writes with eloquence and empathy about an important part of Southern history too often neglected.”
--Ron Rash
Author of Serena
A New York Times bestseller and PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist

“I've been reading the Lindy Lee poems for over a decade now, and I'm delighted to see them collected in a volume that amplifies their individual power. In the tradition of Ron Rash, Cathy Smith Bowers, and Linda Ferguson, Kimberly Simms has chronicled the lives of textile workers in the Carolinas with historical accuracy, imaginative insight, and lyrical grace.”
-- Dr. Gilbert Allen
    Author of Catma
   Robert Penn Warren Prize Winner

“Innovative and entertaining. Often Simms reminds me of Rita Dove's THOMAS AND BEULAH, the ability to capture a whole human life in only a few carefully-crafted lines. Simms blends the folk-road with the erudite, makes the plain-spoken country-speak stand for the deepest spiritual constructs within our souls. I’ve read this collection several times for the delight and the surprise.  I strongly suspect other readers will too. What a new craftsman is here!”
--Paul Allen,

"Focused on a life sewn into mill town culture of the early twentieth century and on through the sixties, Kimberly Simms’ Lindy Lee: Songs on Mill Hill reignite an important (but often forgotten) crux of the South's history. These are not lugubrious, nostalgia-laden poems longing for a South that never was: they are, in sum, a beautiful lens through which to celebrate and record the joys and hardships of a charged, mythic, and sweat-soaked place, its kin and kith, and the microcosmic realities that gather to form a dynamism, a culture still moving, abiding in memory and the heart."
--William Wright
Author of Tree Heresies
Georgia Author of the Year, 2016

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kimberly Simms wins The 2016 SmartARTS Teaching Artist Award


From the early days in 2003, Kimberly Simms Gibbs has been involved in the Metropolitan Arts Council's SmartARTS program that focuses on deep, meaningful learning for Greenville County students through arts integration.  In partnership, with SmartARTS, Kimberly Simms integrates both creative writing and theater into a variety of curriculums including science, socials studies, languageg arts, and visual art.

This year, the Metropolitan Arts Council held their 2016 Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the Gunter Theater at the Peace Center before a large crowd. Allan Ethridge, Executive Director, and Gayla Day, Director of Education, presented The 2016 SmartARTS Teaching Artist Award to Kimberly Simms Gibbs.

In 2016, Kimberly Simms Gibbs completed 8 day residencies at League Academy (3) and Sevier Middle School, spending 64 days working in Greenville county Schools.

To learn how you can bring Kimberly to your school, please email

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Emotion Poems at Mountain View and Tigerville Elementary

Visual Art and Creative Writing Residency

I had a wonderful time spending 3 weeks in residencies at two elementary schools this February. It has been a joy to help Kindergarten through Fifth graders write poems! The students are currently working on the art side of their projects, so I look forward to sharing final pictures soon!

Join me on social media!
Instagram: @kimberlysimmspoet
Twitter: @witsendpoetry

From teacher, Sherry Smith: "My name is Sherry Smith and I am the art teacher for Tigerville Elementary and travel art teacher at Mountain View Elementary. We had a wonderful time hosting Mrs. Kimberly Simms Gibbs at our school as our artist in residence. She has a wonderful connection with the children and her talent is an outstanding source of inspiration and education to my students. We worked together to create connections between the art of the written message and the art of the visual message to connect bridges between the classroom contents of study with our art forms! We were delighted to have Mrs. Gibbs be a part of our learning experiences!! Sherry Smith."

Here are a few sample poems from the units:

5th Grade Unit - Harlem Renaissance 

Tribute Poems with Alcohol Ink Tiles

Student Sample Poem:
Langston Hughes - Tribute Poem

It is 1932 in the Harlem Renaissance.
I sit at the front table of a lively jazz club.
I see rhythmic smiling women dancing
to the music. I notice the talented
African-American artists all around.
I feel as happy as Duke Ellington
pounding the piano.  I hear the deep
thud of the upright bass on stage.
My hand grasps my pen to pour
my thoughts upon the page,
"Jazz Band, Jazz Band, play play play."

4th Grade Unit - Landscape Poems 

Creative Writing, Westward Expansion, and Landscape Paintings.

Student Sample Poem:
Landscape Poem

I stand beside my grey mustang. I see a beautiful long waterfall cascading over the mountain.

I hear the sparkling blue water running over the rocks into the river.
I feel inspired like a golden eagle soaring.
I turn my face towards the east;
we traveled so many months to reach
these valleys and tall peaks.
I notice the sun turning the puffy clouds
golden as the evening comes around us.
I feel proud to be among the first
to explore this beautiful western landscape.

K-4, K-5, 1st, and 2nd Grade - Inside Out Emotion Poems

Similes with Straw Blown Watercolor Faces

Student Sample Simile Poem from First Grade
My Emotions

I feel happy like green wiggly jello.
I feel joy like a rainbow-glitter crystal.
I feel sad like a dark muddy wolf.
I feel disgust like a mushy mud pie.
I feel scared like a climbing red spider.
I feel surprised like a fast blue waterfall.

*Please note it is my personal policy not to share photos of children's faces on social media unless I have parent permission.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Poem for Black History Month

This month as I work with students in schools across the upstate, I am helping them to write their own poetry as well as sharing this tribute poem about the inspirational Dr. Mae Jemison.

I wrote this poem in celebration of the Endeavor Shuttle mission of Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in space.  I admire Mae Jemison especially because she is a woman who started life in a small town, but she had a big impact on the world.

I think anyone who is from a small town can relate to feelings of not feeling like you can do or accomplish certain things because of your background. But Dr. Jemsion shows us that small town folks can have a big impact on culture and history.

This poem is written from the point of view of Mae Jemison, and it merges the factual details of her life with my own poetic imagination. This poem is the first in a series of poems about famous Americans aimed at middle grades students.

Mae Jemison Counts Down Aboard the 1992 Endeavor Shuttle

My blood pumps itself to a distant planet.
My brain is a supernova. My skin is a million stars.
The orange straps across my suit are bright as a fire.
I’m thinking of Grandmother, the swish, swish, swish

of her broom on that Alabama porch, the hot grits
bubbling on the stove, the smell of biscuits and bacon.
On an autumn evening, we’d slowly launch ourselves
in the swing, our feet rising across the pumpkin moon.

The year of my birth, 1956, Alabama still called segregation
separate but equal. My school teacher mama wanted more.
Her and daddy moved us to blue Chicago
to spirit, to hope, to zeal, to inspiration.

Grandmother’s tiny Alabama dreams never imagined 127 orbits
of the Earth.  Mission control is counting slowly down
and this Endeavor will shoot me into history
like a blazing star. What new horizons will I find

in a thousands years of blackness. The earth
and all its heavy history fall. I float, an impossible
dream, a black woman in a white NASA Suit,
an Alabama child with the whole world in her hands.

#blackhistorymonth #ya #youngadult #middlegrades #teaching #maejemsion #poem #poetry

I recently performed this poem for the students, teachers, and parents at the Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition in Spartanburg, SC at Spartanburg Community College. Sponsored by Hub City.

*Mae Jemison was not interviewed in regards to this poem, so the details of what she may have been thinking about while she waited to launch into space are wholly from my imagination. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Working with students and teachers at Woodmont Middle School!

I'm excited to be working at Woodmont Middle School this week. Today I am providing professional development and later this week, I will be working with 6th and 7th grade!

Join me on social media!
Instagram: @kimberlysimmspoet
Twitter: @witsendpoetry

I have a new book of history based poetry that addresses the textile mill era, both the nostalgia for the tight knit communities and awareness for the sometimes harsh conditions after the turn of the twentieth century.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Forthcoming Poems

We are excited to announce that Kimberly Simms has several poems forthcoming in journals and magazines! Simms also received a Pushcart Nomination!

Also expect a full length poetry book from Simms later this year from a traditional press! Lindy Lee: Songs on Mill Hill is the working title for these history based poems, some nostalgic for those tight-knit textile communities, other poems exploring the hardships on families pre-World War II. I would love for you to sign-up for my author e-mail list for notification of the launch party and book!

Aji Magazine will publish "The Shortness of Summer" and "The Ugly Jug" in their Spring 2017 edition. Aji  hopes to spark passion for literature and art by offering previously unpublished works of established and emerging artists, work that celebrates contemporary experience and engages readers and viewers globally. New issues are published bi-annually, every spring and fall.

The Broad River Review will publish "Lost Stand of Daffodils" in 2017. 

Ampersand Magazine awarded Simms' poem "Golden Spears" an Honorable Mention for poetry.  "Borrowed Relief" and "Lunch with Ivan at the Superior Kebab House" will also appear in the 2017 edition.

The Petigru Review nominated Simms' poem "The Black Country Balti" for a 2018 Pushcart Prize in poetry.