About the Author

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 five 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; Waiting Out the Storm, a poetry chapbook; and Water Under the Bridge: A Sort-of Love Story.

Her quarterly print project MANIFEST (zine) is 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. In 2022, it was one of 23 artist projects selected by SomethingProjects.net as part of their CT statewide art treasure hunt called THE EXCHANGE, supported by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and Connecticut Office of the Arts, curated by Howard el-Yasin & Suzan Shutan, and featured at the Ely Center of Contemporary Art, New Haven, CT. Click here for more about this project.

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),  Connecticut Poetry Society, and Guilford Art Center. In 2021, she served as a judge for the 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 100-word story “Rest Stop, Mile Marker 173” was selected as a finalist in the Sunspot Literary Journal’s Geminga 2022 Contest for Tiny Prose, Poem, or Art. 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, the Connecticut Bards Poetry Review 2022,the Poetry Institute zine Circumference. in Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis, edited by Connecticut’s Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson, funded by the Academy of American Poets, and in The Perch, a publication by the Yale Program for Recovery & Community Health.


Profile photo by Branford artist Christine Chiocchio, www.christinechiocchio.com.

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