the ledge files
the ledge - nl - uk
Jim Heynen
Iowa 1940 American poet and prose writer

full text search:

the ledge - flash version*


Best known for his short-short stories about 'the boys', Jim Heynen has published widely as a writer of poems, novels, nonfiction, and short fiction. His stories about the boys have been featured often on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, as well as on radio in both Sweden and Denmark. (Minnesota astronaut George Pinky Nelson took a taped collection of the stories for bedtime listening on his last space mission. )
Jim Heynen was born on a farm in northwest Iowa in one of the last areas of the state to get electricity, and he attended one of the last one-room schoolhouses in the state. As a youngster, his main non-work activities were 4-H, piano, and voice a boy soprano who sang frequently at weddings, funerals, and holiday celebrations. He attended Hull Western Christian High, then two years at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, before going on to receive his B.A. at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There he was active in choir and drama. Among his many roles, he played
Claudius in Hamlet during his senior year, the same year he won the all-college literary contest for a short story set on an Iowa farm. He graduated at the age of 20 with a double major in speech/drama and English.
After a short career teaching high school English and speech, he went off for graduate work at the University of Iowa, concentrating in English Renaissance Literature. He received his M.A. at Iowa and completed most requirements for the Ph.D. He quit in the middle of his dissertation on John Milton, transferred many of his Ph.D. hours to the University of Oregon, where he received his MFA in creative writing, focusing on both poetry and fiction.
Since then Heynen has been writing, teaching, or working in arts administration, including five years as the literature director for Centrum Foundation in Port Townsend, Washington. He lives with his wife, the journalist Sarah T. Williams, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is writer-in-residence at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

The Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer, 1400
One of Heynen's favorite sources of inspiration.


The One-Room Schoolhouse
–› Excerpt

The Boys' House
Short stories about the life of a group of boys on a farm. For this book Heynen has written 20 new stories and revised many of those tales originally published in his first two collections, both now unavailable.
make a note


Code (above)

The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht,
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Design: Maurits de Bruijn

Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.