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

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with authors and book lovers, and find content written by “many of the world’s greatest writers,” both published and unpublished.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.