Classy Talk with John Wesley Horton: Spring 2014

Posted Fri, 3/07/2014 - 11:47am by  |  Category:

johnny_horton.jpgWhat is the title of your class? 

Poems Regarding the Soul

People should take this class if… 

They’re interested in abstract concepts as inspiration for writing. They want to think about and try to embody big ideas in their work. Or, they just want a fun place to spend the Sundaymornings of spring.

Can your students connect with you on social media? If so, how?

Yes, friend me on Facebook where I’m called John Wesley Horton.

Are any of your works online and available to the public?



The Far Field

What’s your teaching philosophy?

I teach what I want to learn. Teaching, for me, is an exploration akin to learning. To keep my mind focused and fresh I must explore new (to me) territory. Beyond that, I try to create an environment where different voices and points-of-view can learn from one another.

If you could have any famous actor read one of your pieces to you, who would it be and why?

Richard Burton because Richard Burton could make a laundry list sound like King Lear. James Earl Jones (as the voice of Darth Vader) for the same reason but with a different accent. But Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins would be best for poems of mine in which song lyrics occur.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing a poem about my grandfather, who came to me in a dream just after he died and invited me to sleep in his coffin.

What’s your favorite “rule” of writing to break in your own writing?

Rules break in the writing as feet break in the shoes. That sounds cool but I don’t think it’s accurate. Maybe the rules are the shoes and the feet are the crushing force that is the desire to write. Somewhere in the tension between them poems are born. Look at modern sonnets. Do they look like a pair of wing tips fresh from the hills of Tuscany? No. They’re more like a thrift shop find, re-soled a few times, leather patched, worn in and worn out so many times most of us pass them by. But, if they’re animated by the right pair of feet, they still fly.

What are you reading now? If you could pair it with a beverage (alcoholic or otherwise), what would you choose?

A book of nonfiction called Darwin’s Dogs, which is about the dogs that influenced Darwin’s thinking on everything from evolution to animal rights. It amazes me how many thinkers and writers I love share with me a profound appreciation for dogs. For the part where Darwin writes an impassioned letter against researchers who would vivisect dogs without anesthetizing them, I needed a shot of bourbon, neat.