Archive for the 'Working the Dirt' Category

Working the Dirt editor Jennifer Horne discusses Southernness, shows her writing talent

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by Noelle Matteson

Working the Dirt

The talented poet and editor who gave NewSouth Books Working the Dirt, its highly praised anthology of Southern verse, admits she didn’t always have her hands in Southern soil. Authors’ site Red Room recently featured her blog entry, “Is I is or Is I ain’t a Southerner?” Red Room is a “social hub,” a site where one can buy books, connect with authors and book lovers, and find content written by “many of the world’s greatest writers,” both published and unpublished.

As Horne asks, “Is I is or Is I ain’t a Southerner?” She finds that she fits the bill because she says “fixin’ to” and once requested a skillet for her birthday. However, she’s never “chopped cotton or killed a hog.” Horne wonders if the very act of questioning her Southernness is in itself a sign of being Southern.

Online literary journal Southern Women’s Review, which showcases works by Southerners or Southern transplants, also selected Horne’s short story “Business or Pleasure” (found on page 28).

“Business or Pleasure” is a brief but powerful piece about a lawyer who ventures out of her comfort zone one night in a hotel. The intelligent, relatable heroine is forced to examine what roles choice and chance play in her life.

Horne grew up in Arkansas and currently lives in Alabama. She compiled, edited, and contributed to NewSouth’s Working the Dirt: An Anthology of Southern Poets, including works by what New York Times LifeBeat columnist Sharon Lovejoy said were the “finest line-up of Southern poets imaginable.”

Working the Dirt is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite online or retail bookseller.

Working the Dirt Editor Jennifer Horne Interviewed on Alabama Arts Radio Series

Friday, November 14th, 2008 by Lisa Harrison

Poet, anthologist and editor Jennifer Horne appeared on the Alabama Arts Radio Series on November 11 in an interview conducted by Jeanie Thompson, Executive Director of the Alabama Writers Forum. Horne, a recent recipient of an Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship, discussed her work as an anthologist, including the compilation and editing of Working the Dirt: An Anthology of Southern Poets, published by NewSouth Books in 2003.

Horne explained that she had begun work editing a volume of poetry dedicated to Southern gardening when NewSouth editor Randall Williams suggested the subject of farming. That project evolved into Working the Dirt, a volume devoted to farming and gardening themes.

The book’s focus is perhaps more relevant today than when it was first published, said Thompson, because of the recent “eat local” movement focusing on fresh, regionally available produce. Horne agreed that there is more public consciousness today of gardening and farming. During the interview, Horne performed two poems with similar agricultural themes, Farmer’s Market by Marcia Camp and Summer Food by Coleman Barks.

Listen to the interview at the Alabama State Council for the Arts website.

Working the Dirt is available from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite local or online book retailer.