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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.

Sunday, January 22, 2023


Writings on Writing: January 2023

“You know how you can have a hell of a time getting around to working on your dissertation, but still happily email friends for hours? I’ve come to think of academic performance, or any writing performance in which I set out with the idea that I’m going to somehow show others what I know, as ‘uphill.’ Whereas my barefoot voice is the equivalent of dancing alone in my apartment, late at night, to my favorite music. My barefoot voice is my voice in a letter to a friend, written for solace while hiding in a cafe on a rainy day. Tender, interested, commiserating, outpouring, describing, punctuated with small drawings and recipes. It’s the writing that pours out of the centers of my bones. It’s as natural to me as my breath. This, these words that you’re reading now, this is my barefoot voice.”

Diana Atkinson, “Notes in My Barefoot Voice,” Shambala Sun, July 2, 2002.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Writings on Writing: December 2022

Looking through some old copies of the Black Warrior Review, I found an interview with W. S. Merwin in the Spring 1982 issue. Asked about "the rhetorical aspects of poetry," Merwin responded, in part:

"I've been thinking a lot about this lately, as I guess everybody has. One of the reasons is because the events of the times don't give me much room for optimism. If you write poems you certainly don't want to exclude that kind of concern. I think there is an urgent and real sense in which any real poem is political in that it deals with experience as deeply as it possibly can, and uses language, which is one of the great bonds with other human beings. It uses it, I  hope, as responsibly as possible. One's involvement in a political moment can obviously touch us and speak to us and involve us at the same level as the rest of our experience. If that's the case we can write political poems possibly, instead of just political statements in poetic form."

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

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