When it comes to reading I find that most of the authors I enjoy are men. My favorites have ranged from Edgar Allen Poe to Charles Bukowski, and with the exception of Ayn Rand, I’m not sure if I ever found a woman writer that I could really sink my teeth into.
That was until I met Nancy Tripp King when I was living in North Carolina. King is the wife of a retired marine who got her artistic start in life a bit late, self-publishing her first book, Tobacco Blossoms: & the Pulled-tight Twine, in 2003 through Main Street Rag.
Surprise Success in Writing Poetry
When Tobacco Blossoms was released, King was able to share stories of her childhood. Being the daughter of a sharecropping tobacco farmer in the 1950’s she found that many women of her time related to her life as it was theirs, too.
Having composed another book of poetry during this time, she wanted to release it. To her surprise, Main Street Rag wanted to publish it traditionally because they had already sold about 700 copies.
Nancy Tripp King’s Second Book
Only six months later came the release of Those Days When Love Doesn’t Work, a compilation of verse about hard times in marriage.
According to King, it’s fiction, which is easy for me to believe because much of my poetry has been fiction. Complementing King’s work is the artwork of her daughter, Pam, who offers great visual affects, such as her parents’ marriage certificate torn up on the front cover of Those Days When Love Doesn’t Work, and two hands on the back, one holding on while the other is letting go.
How I Met Nancy Tripp King
I feel very lucky to have come across King’s work, given the limited distribution then and her work’s seeming disappearance today. We met at a reading in 2007. I was promoting my new novel, and she was there as an iconic figure in the local literary community.
Prior to this event I hadn’t read to a crowd since I first went to college in 2000, so taking some notes from Book Talk, a television show that promotes authors, I wrote a three-page speech and then read for about 30 minutes. I can only imagine how thrilled the crowd of four (including the librarian) was.
Then Nancy took the podium. She talked for a minute, read a poem, talked for a minute, read a poem, talked for a minute….ten minutes later she was selling books, such as her newest one Between Glass and Cardboard that is as hard to find as articles about her and her work.
But this isn’t to say that her influence will not survive into generations after she is gone, because when it comes to readings, I think I can safely say that everything I learned, I learned from Nancy Tripp King.