For previous posts on the contributors, see these authors who were all featured in the first section of the book, “Mystics and Messengers.”
And from the second section of the book, “Angels Watching Over Me.”
From the third section of the book, “All in the Family: Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, and Grandfathers.”
As I wrote about in my post on Wendy Reed (link), I remember the first time I met Jennifer in November of 2008 in Fairhope, Alabama, at the last (I think) annual event, “Southern Writers Reading.” She was there with her good friend Wendy Reed (also a contributor to this book) and the two of them co-edited a wonderful anthology, All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality, in 2006. I LOVED that collection, and when I found out they were working on a “sequel,” I asked if I could submit an essay. Most of the authors in their anthologies are published, well-known, and often best sellers. But they took a chance on me, and my first essay to be published in an anthology, “Chiaroscuro: Shimmer and Shadow,” was included in their next book, Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality (2012). What follows is an 11-year-and-still-going friendship with both of these amazing women. Their essays have appeared in several of my anthologies, and they have both graciously blurbed several of my books. But here’s a bit more about Jennifer:
Jennifer Horne served as the twelfth Poet Laureate of Alabama from 2017 to 2021. The author of three collections of poems, Bottle Tree, Little Wanderer, and Borrowed Light, she also has written a collection of short stories, Tell the World You’re a Wildflower. (I hosted a literary salon for Jennifer in our home when this book came out, and several women took turns reading parts of the stories, “acting” out the parts of the characters.) She has edited or co-edited four volumes of poetry, essays, and stories. Her latest work is a biography of the writer Sara Mayfield, forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press.
“Letters to Little Rock”
These five poems are from a series I am writing about my father, Allan W. “Dick” Horne, who died of pneumonia January 21, 2018. Born in a small town in Arkansas in the midst of the Depression, he was the eighth and youngest child in his family and the only one to graduate from high school. . . . He joined the Navy and served in the Korean War on an aircraft carrier. When he came home, he went to college and then law school on the G.I. Bill, working in private practice as an attorney and also enacting reforms as state insurance commissioner. . . . He worked until three weeks before his death, at age 85. These poems, all second-person addresses, have become a way of continuing the conversation with him beyond his death. . . . My working title for the collection is “Letters to Little Rock.”
From the fourth poem, “The Messages”:
I think maybe I’m willing to believe—
or at least not willing to not believe—that
you might be getting a few messages through.
The week before you died,
calling from the hospital,
you told me we’d see each other soon,
we’d find a way to get together,
one way or another
It’s not like you to knock or tap
or blink the lights
or shimmer. But sometimes, not looking,
I still catch the odd, peripheral glimmer.