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Greetings! I’m a writer, editor, and teacher, and I enjoy connecting with readers and other writers. From 2017 to 2021, I served as Alabama's Poet Laureate. My latest book is a poetry chapbook, "Borrowed Light," and my current writing projects are a literary history in the form of narrative nonfiction based on the lives of the writer Sara Mayfield and her friends, a collection of poems about my late father, and a co-edited collection of essays about southern women, aging, and creativity. I call this blog and website "A Map of the World" because I think that, as writers, we each map the world through our own lives and imaginations. Welcome to my particular map! To get in touch, you can email me at forjenhorne@gmail.com or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/for.jen.horne where I post a Mid-Week Poetry Break every Wednesday.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Writings on Writing: November 2022

From the delightful Less Is Lost (a sequel to the equally delightful Less), by Andrew Sean Greer:

Our narrator, Freddy Pelu, is describing how Arthur Less has been wrong about many things on his cross-country trip. He notes that "If this trip had a mantra, it would be 'Wrong again.'" Then he details the many ways Less has been wrong and concludes:

"But above all else, wrong about people. No surprise, in fact: novelists, with their love of structure and language and symmetry in novels, are frequently mistaken about the people who inhabit the actual world, much as architects are about churches. What is acceptable as true in a novel--that the waitress, existing merely to drop soup on the protagonist, need only have a hairdo and a hand--is, in the real world, an unforgivable moral error. For while our middle-aged author would probably consider himself a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern, certainly never a protagonist, the truth of existence has not quite pierced his soul: That, in real life, there are no protagonists. Or, rather, the reverse: It's nothing but protagonists. It's protagonists all the way down."

Less Is Lost, p. 246

Thursday, October 20, 2022

 Writings on Writing: October 2022

I've just finished reading Rachel Joyce's novel Miss Benson's Beetle, which I loved. In her postcript to the novel, "The Photograph That Inspired a Novel," she writes: " The reasons why you choose to tell a certain story are not always clear. I like to compare the first stages of writing to finding a house in the woods that has no windows and no doors. You long to go inside, but you have no idea how, so all you can do is keep circling it, trying to find the tiniest crack."

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Writings on Writing:

With September 2022, I'm starting a new blog sequence, sharing a quotation on the art of writing that I've found in my readings. Here's the first, from Stanley Kunitz's The Wild Braid. There's so much to love about this book, but here's one that struck me especially: 

"I kept pruning [the juniper] back, converting its battered state into an aesthetic principle, and now it has taken on a completely different shape, spreading rather than growing upright. As with the making of a poem, so much of the effort is to get rid of all the excess, and at the same time be certain you are not ridding the poem of its essence.

The danger is that you cut away the heart of the poem, and are left only with the most ordered and contained element. A certain degree of sprawl is necessary; it should feel as though there's room to maneuver, that you're not trapped in a cell. You must be very careful not to deprive the poem of its wild origin."

from "The Sentinel," p. 57

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