Jen Hinst-White


Hello, fellow traveler. I’m Jen.
I write. I speak. I like to be alive.


I’m overjoyed to announce I’m now represented by literary agent Kira Watson of Emma Sweeney Agency.

My essay “How to Survive the Apocalypse” is in the newest issue of Image Journal. 

I read recently at The Wild Project in the East Village (above), opening for the new play Outside Paducah.

I have an essay forthcoming in Consequence Magazine (winter 2018) about nuclear weapons, children, and the girl who survived Hiroshima.

And I’m honored to have been awarded a Sustainable Arts Fellowship at Rivendell Writers’ ColonyI’ll be spending two weeks on Rivendell’s beautiful grounds working on my new novel this November/December.


And if we’re not yet acquainted:

May we meet in person one day! In the mean time…
I’ve written a novel about tattooing
 with illustrations (and I’m represented by Kira Watson of Emma Sweeney Agency). I write essays and stories; I review books; occasionally I make a little music or deliver an unconventional sermon for those (like me) who waffle between the skeptics and the mystics. Should we talk? Connect on Twitter? Instagram?

Cheers & love, Jen Hinst-White

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grunge music & the art of lamentation: a quirky sermon



MIXTAPE: ’90s Grunge

Video is here–skip ahead to 18:30 if you want to get straight to the sermon. 

Some thoughts about lamentation: the passionate expression of grief. How to listen to it, how to do it, and how it can change the world.

Also: My “Grunge Lyric or Bible Verse?” game; flannel shirts and distortion pedals; tap-dancing bumblebee girls; Terrible, Thanks for Asking; and the marvelous word splagchnizomai! σπλαγχνίζομαι


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tossed in with Flannery


My essay “How to Survive the Apocalypse” is out today in the new issue of Image JournalIt’s a fun/serious look at apocalyptic fiction. (Literary fiction. Not the Left Behind series.) Specifically: the excellent novels The Pinch by Steve Stern (Graywolf Press) This Is Why I Came by Mary Rakow (Counterpoint Press), and When the English Fall by David Williams (Algonquin Books).

And from the Department of Happy Accidents: By some stroke of luck, I got tossed into the same bag of marbles as Flannery O’Connor.


(Btw, clearly she’s the big green shooter. I’m the blurry cerulean in the back.)

513x388_flannery-squareThe same issue includes the never-before-published college journals of Flannery O’Connor. In it, according to Image, O’Connor  ”keeps a daily record of her thoughts, dreams, amusements, and fears for a period of forty days.” Among other things: “I have so much to do that it scares me.” (Preach, girl.) Apparently they even secured Flannery’s first selfie: “The issue will also include several previously unpublished photos, including a self-portrait photo taken through her dresser mirror.”

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Time for an intermission from all the seriousness.

Dispatch from the Department of Mischief:

In which the writer and producer Sarah Lybrand introduces me to the device known as the Head Tickler.


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Hunger for Salt (Review Series)

Each month I review a new book for ImageUpdate, which is put out by the fabulous people at IMAGE Journal. Here’s the latest.

And I didn’t plan it this way, but it’s oddly synchronous with these posts I’ve been writing on empty space (read them here: part 1, part 2, and part 3)…

Hunger for Salt

Poetry for the End of Seasons
Hunger for Salt, Elaine Fletcher Chapman

Autumn-summer cusp—a breath—a good moment to read “September Begins,” from Elaine Fletcher Chapman’s debut collection, Hunger for Salt. “[O]ne psalm, picked randomly / this morning, one hundred and thirty one: / O, lord, my heart is not lifted up… / I have calmed and quieted my soul/ one poem, not random / Whitman: observing a spear of summer grass / at summer’s end…” This is a collection full of cusps, “iridescent silence” poems, as Chapman writes in “Another Attempt at Silence.” Sometimes it is the silence after loss, after “the violent haze of sea-torched marsh…months after the hurricane.” When the poet calls these pauses “alone but not lonely,” the statement feels earned; even as many of them express yearning, hunger, they feel like the product of a soul “calmed and quieted” with steady intention. The one-room studio apartment in the wake of a divorce, for example, rechristened “Holy place of contemplation.” These are poems, too, for deciphering meaning in the end of seasons, looking at and asking questions of the artifacts (or absences) left behind.

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empty space, part 3.

Further thoughts on the territory of hunger and ache. (For part 1, see “Empty Space”: the sometimes-painful act of letting go, and being willing to sit with our hungers.) I didn’t plan to write any more on the subject, but then there was a confluence of events: A podcast. A performance. A pastoral pondering. So I guess I’ll be doing a little series on grief, hunger and ache. In Part 2 I wrote about the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking. This time…


The performance

It was an odd, 30-year sequence of events.

It began with my childhood terror of nuclear war;
it continued with me at age 22 chauffeuring a Hiroshima survivor around New England;
and it resulted in me writing a long essay about nuclear weapons and children for Consequence Magazine

…which resulted in an invitation, and my meeting Jay Moad.


J. A. Moad II is a former Air Force pilot (whose father also served in Vietnam). He started an effort called Veteran Voices so that civilians could begin to hear the real stories of veterans, and begin to understand “the moral burden of war” in a way our culture rarely discusses. And he also wrote (and is now performing) a new play called Outside Paducah, a one-man show about the toll of war on veterans and their families

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empty space, part 2.

Further thoughts on the territory of hunger and ache. (For part 1, see “Empty Space”: the sometimes-painful act of letting go, and being willing to sit with our hungers.) I didn’t plan to write any more on the subject, but then there was a confluence of events: A podcast. A performance. A pastoral pondering. So I guess I’ll be doing a little series on grief, hunger and ache.

The podcast

Around the time I wrote that entry on empty space, my husband surprised me with a sojourn to NOW HEAR THIS, a podcast festival in Manhattan. Attendees got to sit in on the recording of several podcasts that are kinda hot right now (Lavar Burton Reads, Lovett or Leave It) and as we were walking out of one particular taping, I heard a voice say “JEN AND ROB?” 

It was Mr. Hans Buetow—one of my best friends from college, whom I haven’t seen in a decade.


He’d flown out from Minnesota, where he produces the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

I’d heard of the show, but after that chance encounter, I began listening in earnest. And Terrible, Thanks for Asking has become my new favorite thing.

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atomic bombs and indie theater.


I’ve been invited to do something in New York City that I have no business doing. And if you are stirred by the lives of veterans, the complications of war—or just writing and theater, honestly—I’d love for you to be present.

Once upon a time, I knew a woman who survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb. This year, I finally wrote about her—along with an uncanny series of events involving my life and nuclear weapons.

Now CONSEQUENCE Magazine is publishing that essay, and I’ve been invited to read from it before the performance of a brand-new play called OUTSIDE PADUCAH (by the writer/veteran/performer J.A. Moad) about the toll of war on veterans and their families.

Tickets are $25… you can get yours here!

I’m reading ONLY at the SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2:00 pm performance.

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