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.
About the Author
Jen Hirt’s memoir, Under Glass: The Girl with a Thousand Christmas Trees (University of Akron, 2010), won the Drake University Emerging Writer Award. Her poetry chapbook, Too Many Questions about Strawberries, was published by Tolsun Books in 2018. Her essay “Lores of Last Unicorns,” published in The Gettysburg Review, won a Pushcart Prize. She is the co-editor of Creating Nonfiction: Twenty Essays and Interviews with the Writers (SUNY Press, 2016), which won “Gold” at the Foreword Review awards “Anthology of the Year” category, and she is the editor of Kept Secret: The Half-Truth in Nonfiction (MSU Press, 2017). Her essays have also received the Gabehart Prize for Nonfiction from the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant, an Ohioana Library grant, and four notable essay mentions in Best American Essays. Her work has been published in over forty journals or magazines. She has an MFA from the University of Idaho, an MA from Iowa State University, and a BA from Hiram College. She is an associate professor of creative writing at Penn State Harrisburg.
Praise for Hear Me Ohio
This book is just real enough to be surprising that it even is a book and not the world itself and just odd enough that you keep turning pages, to continue the walk, to feel the loss and discover a new extremely smart friend who as collateral damage for having read Hear Me Ohio gives me as reader and mammal an inkling that there is a wild commons in this world which might be the rangey careful exacting writing sensibility which is Jen Hirt. —Eileen Myles
Hear Me Ohio is an unabashed treat: curious, insightful and surprising essays on the many wildnesses in both urban and suburban landscapes. Jen Hirt’s dogged and imaginative attention present bold insights about the parts of the natural world thriving just around the corner from our everyday lives. The products of Hirt’s essayistic wandering, however, is far from everyday. These essays will have you opening your front door and looking around for all the wondrous things you might have missed. —Elena Passarello
From a late-night jaunt in a dented kayak, to a quest for monster insects and unicorns, to a piece of performance art on the American chestnut, in this essay collection Jen Hirt tours us through discarded landscapes, past overlooked creatures, revealing the magic at the heart of the mundane. —Kim Todd