Jennifer Horne

Jennifer Horne

Welcome

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I’m a writer, editor, and teacher, and I enjoy connecting with readers and other writers. I grew up in Arkansas and am a long-time resident of Alabama, and in November 2017 I was commissioned Alabama Poet Laureate, for a four-year term. My latest book is a poetry chapbook, "Borrowed Light," and my current writing project is a biography of the writer Sara Mayfield. I call this blog "A Map of the World" because I think that, as writers, we each map our own lives, imaginations, and world. Welcome to my particular map!

Blog Posts

Below you'll find occasional blog posts, as the spirit moves me.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monroevillanelle

Monroevillanelle

—for John and Laurie Johnson

Queen Anne’s Lace, wild magnolia, honeysuckle interject
Punctuation marks in white against a green page of trees.
There are many roads to Monroeville, none direct.

You may plot a careful journey, coming and going, and protect
Yourself with city ways, but stop: open a window to the breeze
Where Queen Anne’s Lace, wild magnolia, honeysuckle intersect.

What keeps you moving forward is the need to reconnect.
You let the landscape guide you, following the hum of bees:
There are many roads to Monroeville, none direct.

Every May now, reaching country crossroads you elect
That road not taken, each new route unfolding in a moving frieze:
Queen Anne’s Lace, wild magnolia, honeysuckle sunlight-flecked.

At the center all paths lead to, you slow down and reflect
On the storied county courthouse, forever Harper Lee’s.
There are many roads to Monroeville, none direct.

All returns blend, departures blur, you resurrect
A self and place once lost, winter calm and summer ease.
Queen Anne’s Lace, wild magnolia, honeysuckle’s sweet effect:
There are many roads to Monroeville, none direct.


—Jennifer Horne


I had the pleasure of reading "Monroevillanelle" at the Alabama Writers' Symposium this past weekend, in the very town and at the very event that inspired the poem. It hasn't been published in a journal yet, but a couple of people asked for copies, so I'm posting it here.

It's been a busy time for literary festivity, with the Alabama Book Festival on April 17th, a glorious day both for weather and for writers, the Montevallo Literary Festival on the 23rd, the Slash Pine Poetry Festival on the 23rd-24th. The University of Montevallo is a quaint, historic campus with old-school hospitality and atmosphere (Hollywood, shoot a film here!) but a very contemporary literary festival with stimulating readings and conversation. Slash Pine, which occurs over two days in various venues around Tuscaloosa, fortunately did not encounter any actual tornadoes, though the downpours were tremendous. I loved the variety of readings and poets and the energy and crowds the festival brought out. Have you noticed, though, that once you've listened to a certain amount of poetry in a short amount of time, everything starts to seem like material for a poem? On about my 15th reading, I was thinking . . . "And the guy/three rows up/who keeps groping/his girlfriend's breast/from around her shoulder/and under her armpit/what is he thinking?/does poetry turn him on?/doesn't he notice she's leaning away?"
Time now to read, garden, rest, and contemplate . . . until fall, when the Limestone Dust Poetry Festival, which was cancelled on the 24th due to dangerous weather in Huntsville, will move to a new season. I'm looking forward to it already!

I've been delighted to have my book reviewed twice recently (links to the left of this post) but must clear up one bit of confusion I've apparently created by a couple of the poems in the book: although I lost my mother in 1994, and some of the poems are about her death, my father would like everyone to know that he is very much alive and practicing law in Little Rock. Long may he lawyer.

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