About Kathy 


Life and Nature Poetry, Asheville NC, Kathy Nelson.jpg


Kathy Nelson grew up near the southern Appalachian Mountains and has deep southern roots, both geographically and spiritually. She spent time studying French Literature (M.A.) and Mechanical Engineering (M.S.), and lived in Austin and Salt Lake City before settling with her husband and two daughters in New Jersey. There Kathy trained as a non-denominational healthcare chaplain (M.Div.) and worked as a chaplain in nursing home and hospice environments.

The music of words has enthralled Kathy from the beginning. Poetry has been a thread through life as a teacher, a telecommunications engineer and chaplain. Kathy began to seriously write poetry during her experience as a hospice chaplain and has felt both fed and ignited by the poetry of Tina Barr, Wendell Berry, Jane Hirschfield, Marie Howe and Ellen Bryant Voigt. Like many poets, Kathy finds that writing is a way of integrating and understanding her experience and is, therefore, essential.



Kathy is honored to be the recipient of the 2019 JAMES DICKEY PRIZE FOR POETRY. This award is bestowed by the literary magazine Five Points published by Georgia State University. The annual award is for an outstanding group of poems by one poet. Kathy’s poems will be published in the Vol. 20, no. 1 issue of Five Points.

Previous winners include Kim Addonizio, Robert Wrigley, A.E. Stallings, Michael McFee, Anne Marie Macari, and Ann Townsend.

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Poetry Books on Life & Nature, Kathy Nelson, Asheville, NC.jpg


Kathy’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cortland Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, Broad River Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, The Paterson Literary Review and other print and online journals. Her work has been included in The Practicing Poet (Terrapin Books) and anthologized in It’s All Relative: Tales from the Tree (Stone Ivy Press). Kathy’s poetry was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Kakalak Poetry Contest.

Kathy is the author of two chapbooks:

Cattails (Main Street Rag, 2013)

Whose Names Have Slipped Away (Finishing Line Press, 2017)




Kathy lives just outside Asheville, NC, in the Swannanoa Mountains. She takes delight in the fact that she lives 4 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway and that she has native azalea, rhododendron, and mountain laurel growing in her yard.

Kathy journals most mornings, and often accompanies her written entries with line drawing & watercolor sketches inspired by her surroundings. Kathy’s watercolor and oil paintings are an extension of this creative journey.

All the drawn and painted imagery featured on this site is Kathy’s.



JOURNAL ENTRY, Watercolor & Pen on Paper

JOURNAL ENTRY, Watercolor & Pen on Paper