Poet & Author
Christine Hemp has been called a "poetry adventurer." She has aired her essays and poems on National Public Radio's Morning Edition; she has sent a poem of hers into space on a NASA mission to monitor the birth of stars; and her program Connecting Chord has united cops and youth offenders--in Britain and in the U.S.-- through poetry and writing. She is a speaker for the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau for her talk "From Homer to #hashtags: Our Changing Language."
Her debut memoir Wild Ride Home: Love, Loss, and a Little White Horse were just released this month. A chapter from the book recently ran in the NYTimes; another version appeared in Salon.com; and the Psychology Today blog ran her essay about her horse, Buddy, who appears in the memoir.
Hemp has received, among other honors, a Harvard University Extension Conway Award for Teaching Writing, a Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship for Literature, and an Iowa Review Award for literary nonfiction. She currently teaches at Hugo House, Seattle, and the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula with two horses, two cats, and one husband.
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About Wild Ride Home
An amazingly joyous memoir told with humor and brilliant irony that illuminates the beauty of the absurdity that is life.
Christine Hemp's debut work of nonfiction, Wild Ride Home, is a brilliant memoir, looping themes of finding love and losing love, of going away and coming home, of the wretched course of Alzheimer's, of cancer, of lost pregnancies, of fly fishing and horsemanship, of second chances, and, ultimately, of the triumph of love and family--all told within the framework of the training of a little white horse named Buddy.
Wild Ride Home invites the reader into the close Hemp family, which believes beauty and humor outshine the most devastating circumstances. Such optimism is challenged when the author suffers a series of blows: a dangerous fiancé, her mother’s dementia, unexpected death, and illness. Buddy, a feisty, unforgettable little Arabian horse with his own history to overcome, offers her a chance to look back on her own life and learn to trust again, not only others but more importantly, herself. Hemp skillfully guides us through a memoir that is, despite devastating loss, above all, an ode to joy.
Christine and Buddy
Check back in March for
a video of Christine's readings!
Editorial Reviews for Wild Ride Home
"Wild Ride Home is a book of kindness, compassion, love and resilience. I fell in love many times reading this book; first with Hemp’s family, then with her trainer, Ken and finally with Hemp herself. In learning to listen and respond to her horse, Buddy, Ken leads Hemp on a magical journey of self-discovery that enriches both the reader and Hemp at the same time. One of the best rides you’ll ever take! " — Susan Richards, author of the national bestseller, Chosen by a Horse
“Wild Ride Home is a gorgeous, compassionate exploration of life, loss, and love. Hemp dives deep, with clear eyes and a strong heart, into the events in our lives that could make us fall, and shows us how to stand up, be still, and draw the power into ourselves.” — New York Times-bestseller Erica Bauermeister, author of The School of Essential Ingredients
“'To fall in love with a horse, really, is to fall in love with a body.' Tender and contemplative, Christine Hemp’s memoir offers an intimate gaze into the essential place of loving in our lives, the ways people and animals are broken, then come to trust one another and find the courage to mend. The irresistible trickster Buddy steals the show." — Rikki Ducornet, author of The Deep Zoo
“How is it possible to read a book with so much death in it and so much joy? Here is a family of people who look life straight in the eyes, a horse who runs circles around sorrow so that sorrow itself laughs out loud, and a writer who is such good company I never wanted the book to end.”
—Marie Howe, New York State Poet Laureate 2012-2014 and author of The Good Thief, What the Living Do, and Kingdom of Ordinary Time, and Magdalene
"WILD RIDE HOME held me spellbound. I came out of this beautiful book really aware, in a visceral way, of all that life holds in store for us, both the wonderful and the tragic, and of how a melding of these inevitable experiences can (and should) make us stronger. There is joy if only we can see, taste, feel, and grasp it. I think of Christine Hemp’s poem in a rocket ship traveling millions of miles into outer space, and it would be wonderful if this memoir could travel around the earth helping us all to understand that, in the final analysis—no matter what—life is magical. This story gives me the sense that I, too, can deal with whatever when the time comes. At the end of WILD RIDE HOME my reaction is to say, “L’chaim.” —John Nichols, author of “The Milagro Beanfield War”
"Poet Hemp’s debut memoir fluently combines multiple story lines into a coherent whole. A devastating break-up with her fiancé sends her home to Washington State, where she has to confront her mother’s dementia, her own battle with cancer, and her father’s sudden decline and death. In flashbacks, readers learn about the bond she developed with her first horse, Lightfoot, as well as her experiences with her most recent horse, Buddy. Hemp’s parents raised her to be resilient in the face of challenges, and not to accept unhappy endings. Combined, these two qualities give Hemp the hope and perseverance with which she lives her life. Instead of viewing obstacles as setbacks, she genuinely sees them as opportunities for growth. VERDICT A well-told story of embracing life’s struggles that is perfect for horse lovers or those who have personal experience with cancer or Alzheimer’s."—Library Journal