Jen Payne is inspired by those life moments that move us most — love and loss, joy and disappointment, milestones and turning points. Her writing serves as witness to these in the form of poetry, creative non-fiction, flash fiction and essay. When she is not exploring our connections with one another, she enjoys writing about our relationships with nature, creativity, and mindfulness, and how these offer the clearest path to finding balance in our frenetic, spinning world.
Very often, her writing is accompanied by her own photography and artwork. As both a graphic designer and writer, Jen believes that partnering visuals and words layers the intentions of her work, and makes the communication more palpable.
She has published four books: LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, a collection of essays and original photography; Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, filled with poems, musings, and photographs; FLOSSING, a photo book; and Waiting Out the Storm, a poetry chapbook.
Her latest project is MANIFEST (zine), a hold-in-your-hands art installation featuring Jen’s writing and mixed-media collage work, along with photography, quotes, and bits and pieces of creative whatnot.
Jen is the owner is Words by Jen, a graphic design and creative services company founded in 1993, based in Branford, Connecticut. She is a member of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, Branford Arts and Cultural Alliance (BACA), the Connecticut Poetry Society, Guilford Arts Center, and the Guilford Poets Guild. She most recently served as a judge for the 2021 Guilford Performing Arts Festival (Spoken Word).
Installations of her poetry were featured in exhibitions at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery and the Kehler Liddell Gallery (New Haven), and several of her poems were selected for Chapter & Verse, a curated poetry event (New Haven). Images from Evidence of Flossing were featured in the New Haven Arts Council exhibit Where the Whole Universe Dwells at the Perspectives Gallery at Whitney Center. Her work has been published by The Aurorean, Six Sentences, the Story Circle Network, and WOW! Women on Writing; in the international anthology Coffee Poems: Reflections on Life with Coffee, the Guilford Poets Guild 20th Anniversary Anthology, in Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis, a poetry anthology edited by Connecticut’s Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson, and in The Perch, a publication by the Yale Program for Recovery & Community Health.
- WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour for Evidence of Flossing
- A Way with Words…, Pam Johnson, Senior Staff Writer, Shore Publishing
- Art council’s ‘Universe’ exhibit opening in Gallery at Whitney Center, Joe Amarante, New Haven Register, May 2017
- New Haven artists, shaken and stirred, react to Trump inauguration, Joe Amarante, New Haven Register, January 2017
- “Shuffle & Shake” Dances with Time, Allan Appel, New Haven Independent, July 2016
- The Perch, Spring 2016
- Branford author Jen Payne invites us to Look Up!, Donna Doherty, New Haven Register, October 2014
- Serving Up Creative Soup, Susan Talpey, Shore Publishing, September 2008
Profile photo by Branford artist Christine Chiocchio, www.christinechiocchio.com.
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The Early Years