Jeanne Walker, English.


Sonnets are familiar to us, but can we seriously read them in our fast-paced, tech-driven, ever-shrinking contemporary world?  Well, the sonnet—invented 700 years ago—has been regularly coming back ever since.  The sonnet in the twenty-first century might serve as a sacramental form, calling us from our work-mad lives to quietness and reflection.

In Pilgrim, You Find the Path by Walking, Jeanne Murray Walker invites the reader to join her on a journey told in 58 colloquial sonnets, beginning in the slangy streets of New York and ending in the holiness of silence and praise. Stops on the journey include reflections on death and grief, but also praise for a migrating butterfly, a knock on the door, the astonishing ocean.  This book is designed to be read slowly; to be both a book of poetry and a spiritual companion.

You can find and order “Pilgrim” at book sites on line or go to Paraclete Press:

Pilgrim, You Find the Path by Walking

From the reviews:

Jeanne Murray Walker’s wondrous new collection attests to the enduring value and relevance of poetic form. This is poetry we need today, this is poetry for always.  —Sofia Starnes, past poet laureate of Virginia and author of The Consequence of Moonlight

Walker proves that the sonnet form can provoke new levels of meaning, enrich language usually unheard, and uncover images invisible to the casual viewer. We find a universe of colors we have never imagined and questions we have hardly dared to ask.”  —Jill Baumgaertner, poetry editor for The Christian Century

“There is a rock-solid belief in the mystery of beauty in these poems, and in the perpetual creation of a God always creating; and there is an equally foundational belief in form and how the sonnet form itself can give rise to a seemingly infinite variety of permutations.  —Robert Cording, poet and author of Only So Far: Poems

. . . in these sonnets she has cobbled a diamond light into her work. ” —Paul J. Willis, author of Deer at Twilight: Poems from the North Cascades

Other News: 

Jenny Holzer has used Jeanne’s poem, “Colors” as part of her massive, permanent art installation in The Comcast Technology Center in downtown Philadelphia. The building is currently the tallest in Pennsylvania.

Jeanne’s poetry received three 2018 Pushcart Prize nominations.

In a personal essay, “Sandals on the Ground:  My Journey with the Sonnet,” Jeanne has traced her journey of writing a hundred sonnets.  See Image, No. 99.

In August, 2019, and March, 2020, Jeanne will be in residence on Whidbey Island, WA, teaching MFA students in the Seattle Pacific University low residency MFA Program.

Jeanne and Dan, her husband will fly to Italy in mid-April, 2019, where Jeanne will teach Dante for a month in the hill town, Orvieto.

Recently Published

To find Jeanne’s recent poems, check the following publicationsThe Christian Century, Arts, Plume,  The Other Journal, Poetry East,  Image,  The Alaska Quarterly Review,  The Georgia Review,  and Dappled Things.  These journals are all doing terrific work; find out more at their websites.  You can find new poems in forthcoming issues of The Christian Century and The Bellingham Review.

A recent issue of The Cumberland Review opens with Jeanne’s comment on William Logan’s poem, “Venice in the Eighties” and Jeanne’s poem “Border Crossing,” commented on by Chase Twichell.  The fabulous issue braids previously published poems with commentary on those poems by poets.  Well worth checking out.

“I Renounce Snap Judgments.  Again,”  Jeanne’s short essay on the (questionable!) wisdom of growing older will appear in  April in The Wonder Years:  40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty, and Strength.  Edited by Leslie Leyland Fields.

“God Reads the Poem of the World with Interest,” and “The Years were Patient with Me” appear in Image No. 94.

“At the Ocean,” “Study: How the Leaf Falls,” and “Mendelssohn Finds the St. Matthew Passion,” all sonnets, are in the current issue of  The Hudson Review.

“The Cobbler” appears in The Cresset, Vol. 80, No. 5,

“Being so wild, how can anyone hold her?”  appeared in recent issues of The Christian Century.

“Letter to a Poet” appears in  last month’s Cleaver reprinted in Shining Rock Poetry Anthology, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

“Attempt” appears in the Spring, 2017 issue of Spiritus. 


Archived Work:

The Villain Who Shut Down an Epic,” an essay about Fake News in Spenser’s Faerie Queene, was invited as part of the journal’s feature about villains.  It appears  in the spring edition of The New Ohio Review, Issue 20.

“The Tillie Project:  A Two-Act Play” appeared at Centenary Stage on November 1, 2017.  The script documents the late nineteenth century murder of a 19-year-old kitchen maid at the Centenary seminary  in Hackettstown, New Jersey.  Tillie’s murder became a nation-wide sensation.  The script was written in collaboration with Centenary and the townspeople in Hackettstown.  When the play was produced in the late 1990’s it broke theatre box office records.  Centenary revived the play to celebrate their 150th anniversary.

Check out The Geography of Memory,  bestselling story of the Alzheimer’s decade Jeanne and her sister cared for their mother.

Discover Helping the Morning:  New and Collected Poetry  This volume collects
all Jeanne’s earlier poems under one cover.

Older Work:

100 Years of Poetry Magazine

“Little Blessing for My Floater,” published in Poetry in 2004, was reprinted in the anthology celebrating Poetry’s first 100 years: The Open
Door: 100 Poets, 100 Years of Poetry, 2012. Poetry magazine is the premier magazine publishing poetry in the United States, the first
home of such poets as T. S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens. The volume is available from Amazon  or Barnes and Noble.


jeannefood1smallerJeanne’s reflection on shopping for produce as a form of communion appears in The Spirit of Food.

Image Interview

Luci Shaw’s interview of Jeanne appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of Image magazine.

Best American Poetry

Best American Poetry, 2009 includes “Holding Action,” Jeanne’s poem, which originally appeared in The Hudson Review.
Read Jeanne’s poems on Verse Daily.
“Praying for Rain in Santa Fe” appears in Gathering, artist Ed Colker’s celebration of 15 poets to mark the 50th anniversary of Haybarn Press in 2010.

Jeanne’s tips on writing for the theater, “The Steep and Exhilarating Mountains of Play Writing,” appear in A Syllable of Water: Twenty Writers of Faith Reflect on Their Art.

Links to Friends

University of Delaware English Department
Seattle Pacific University MFA Program
Center Street Books
Indie Bound
Word Farm Press
Gordon College Program in Orvieto

Paraclete Press