Hirt, Jen

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Jen Hirt is the author of the poetry chapbook Too Many Questions About Strawberries, the memoir Under Glass: The Girl with a Thousand Christmas Trees, and a collection of essays, Hear Me Ohio. She is also the co-editor of two anthologies — Creating Nonfiction: Twenty Essays and Interviews with the Writers, and Kept Secret: The Half-Truth in Nonfiction. She edited Mediums: Fact or Fiction? for Greenhaven Press. She was included in the anthologies From Curlers To Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines, and Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy.

Her essay “Lores of Last Unicorns” won a Pushcart Prize after being published in The Gettysburg Review, and “Glow in the Dark” won the Gabehart Prize. Her essays have been listed four times as “notable essays” in Best American Essays. Other essays and poems have appeared in over 50 literary journals. Her work has won grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Ohioana Library, and Bernheim Arboretum. She is an alum of Hiram College, Iowa State University, and the University of Idaho. Jen is an associate professor at Penn State Harrisburg. She lives in midtown Harrisburg with Paul Cockeram and their black lab, Wesley.

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Hear Me Ohio (2020)

Hear Me Ohio is a collection of essays about leaving Ohio while always looking back at it from places as far and different as Idaho, to the familiar forest of an arboretum in Kentucky, to the Pennsylvania riverbanks of the Susquehanna River. Hirt writes about loss and discovery, but also horseradish and hold-ups, unicorns and spiders, chestnuts and dobsonflies, dogs and kayaks. Readers will find nature writing, meditations, literary journalism, and memoir—a range of approaches for covering a range of miles and years since a childhood spent growing up in Hirt’s Greenhouse in Strongsville, Ohio, which was the subject of her first book.