All those years
of trying to understand
which of this is her,
which of this is me?
Getting at the truth
was always so confusing
amidst her craziness;
how to separate?
And though the shrink said
Put her in a box—
I never quite could
until that Saturday
when the doorbell rang:
and there stood a man
thin and bedraggled,
dripping in the rain.
He held a clipboard,
a small warped box,
containing my mother
or rather her remains.
Sign here, he said,
and handed me the box.
Funny how this came
though I’ve often wondered
if in a weak moment
I didn’t wish for this.
But now that it’s here
what am I to do
except to hold it close,
feel its roughness
up against my cheek,
smell that terrible smell
of factory cardboard
now finally between us.
Jan 22: Literary Salon, Seaside, Florida
April 28: Breckenridge Creative Arts
May 9: Liverpool University Press Book Launch and reading
May 10: Reading and presentation at the Liverpool Atheneum
May 11: Reading at York St. John University, York
May 13: The Bookcase, Hebden Bridge Yorkshire
May 16: Reading at Albion Beatnik Bookstore, Oxford
May 17: Lunchtime Reading at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford
May 18: Daunt Books, Cheapside, London
May 21: Torriano Meeting House, London
May 23: CB1 Poetry, CB2 Cafe, Cambridge
May 24: Pighog Poetry Reading, Nightingale Room, Brighton
May 25: Words and Ears, Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon
May 26: Reading at Keats House, Hamstead, London
May 27: Reading at the Poetry Cafe, London
May 28: Octavo's Book Cafe and Wine Bar, Cardiff
July 7: Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, Colorado
July 23: Reading at Western Colorado State University, Gunnison, Colorado
August 18: Headwater Reading Series, Gunnison Arts Center, Gunnison Colorado
September 9: The Tattered Cover, Denver, Colfax Store
September 24-29: Talking Gourd Reading Series, with evening events in Norwood, Telluride, Colona, Paonia, and Fruita
October 3: Innisfree Bookstore, Boulder, Colorado
October 4: Reading with Michael Henry at Boulder Bookstore, Boulder, Colorado
October 6: Reading at Basalt Library, Basalt, Colorado
October 13: Headwaters Poetry Festival, Gunnison, Colorado
October 30: Phinney Books, Seattle, Washington
November 1: Reading at Third Place Ravenna Books, Seattle with Susan Rich and Katy Ellis
November 4: Elliot Bay Books, Seattle Washington with Suzanne Botelli and Jennifer Moss
November 10: Collected Works Bookstore, Santa Fe, New Mexico with Joan Logge and Kim Cope Tait
January 6: Denver Book Bar with Emily Perez, Denver, Colorado
To see a list of PAST EVENTS click here.
March 18: The Poetry Society of Colorado, Lakewood, Colorado
April 26: Alpine Arts Center, middle school writing workshop, Edwards, Colorado
June 5: Breckenridge Creative Arts, Breckenridge, Colorado
June 19: Breckenridge Creative Arts, Breckenridge, Colorado
June 27: The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colorado
July 3: Breckenridge Creative Arts, Breckenridge, Colorado
July 8: Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, Colorado
July 15: Walking Mountain Science Center, children's poetry workshop, Avon, Colorado
July 17: Breckenridge Creative Arts, Breckenridge, Colorado
July 19-23: Writing the Rockies Conference at Western Colorado State University, Gunnison, Colorado
August 5: Rocky Mountain Land Library, South Park, Colorado
August 7: Breckenridge Creative Arts, Breckenridge, Colorado
August 21: Breckenridge Creative Arts, Breckenridge, Colorado
August 26: Co-teaching Poetry workshop with Wendy Videlock, Grand Junction, Colorado
October 6: Poetry Workshop at Basalt Region Library, Basalt, Colorado
October 14: Headwaters Poetry Festival, Gunnison, Colorado
October 21: Poetry Workshop at Colorado Springs Public Library
October 22: Workshop at Colorado Springs Public Library, East Branch
Click on the titles below to listen or read:
Liverpool University Press, (Pavilion Poetry) My Dark Horses, April 2017.
Tall-lighthouse Publishing, The Humane Society, November 2012
The Best Australian Poems of 2015, “Oblivion.”
The Best Australian Poems of 2011, “The Humane Society.”
PN Review: “Caprice for Violin,” “Mother’s Tomato Plants,” “Mother’s Wrists,” Winter 2016
The New Criterion, “Ruts.”
The Rialto: "Horse Bones," "History Class," November 2016; “How to Fry a Chicken,” June 2015
The Manhattan Review: “A Box,” Fall 2016
Westerly: “Zero Hour,” Fall 2015
The Poetry Review: “He’s,” Fall 2015; “Splitting and Fucking,” Summer 2014
Australian Book Review: “A Box,” Fall 2015
Drunken Boat: “Draft of a Dream,” issue 23, 2015
The Evansville Review: “The Sound of Scissors,” Winter 2015
Verse Daily: “My Mother’s Will Emailed in pdf,” June 5, 2014
The Dark Horse: “Oblivion,” Spring 2014
The North: “The Metronome,” “Migraine” Spring 2014
The Raintown Review: “Speaking With the Dead,” Spring 2014
Stand: “Dream of a Burning Woman,” “Talking in Lamu,” “The Family Freezer,” Spring 2014
The Reader: “The Talking Tree,” “Taking my Mother to England,” Fall 2013
The Manchester Review: “The Humane Society,” Romancing Herself,” Fall 2013
Ambit: “Green,” “Skyping with my Mother,” Fall 2013
The Warwick Review: “Little Serenade,” “Mother’s Persian Rugs,” Fall 2013; “Migraine,” “My Mother’s Will Emailed in pdf,” Fall 2011
Poet Lore: “Metronomes,” Spring 2012
Poetry New Zealand: “The Glass Elephants,” Spring 2012
Poetry Ireland Review: “Victoria Park,” Fall 2011
When it first stormed in Costa Rica
I knew there was nothing I could do.
Our little yellow house started leaking,
all our fruit trees were losing their fruit.
The pink heliconia were battered,
the banana leaves swirled in the rain.
Where was my husband? That didn’t matter,
our tiny yellow house was starting to shake.
So I did the only thing I know,
I dragged out a chair and opened a beer,
knowing destruction will do what it will do—
I sat back, and watched what was here.
Escape2Create, Seaside, Florida, Artist in Residence, January 2017
The Morris Squire Foundation, Santa Barbara, California, Artist in Residence: September, 2016
Varda Artist’s Residency, Sausalito, California, May 2016
Rivendell Writers Colony: Lisa Percy fellowship, Sewanee, Tennessee, February, 2016
Artist in Residence: Stanley, Idaho, April, 2015
The MacDowell Colony: Peterborough, New Hampshire, February-March, 2015
Chateau de la Napoule: Nice, France, October-November, 2014
The Betsy Hotel, Writer-in-residence, Miami, Florida, January, 2014
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts: Amherst, Virginia, July, 2014
Cil Rialaig Arts Foundation: Kerry, Ireland, June, 2014
Hawthornden Fellowship: Midlothian, Scotland, March-April, 2013
Wilfred Owen Association: Full bursary at Ty Newydd Centre, Wales, August, 2012
Grace Marion Wilson Trust: Rosebank Writer’s Bursary, Australia, July, 2011
Fulbright Fellowship for Study of Literature and Education in South Africa, 2007
National Endowment for the Humanities, award for study of Dante in Siena, Italy, 2005
Review by Stephen Grace on The Compass.
"The past also preoccupies Jodie Hollander’s compelling My Dark Horses, which traces the troubled relationship of the poet with her mother. The collection returns, obsessively, to the mother – the trauma she inflicts and the trauma she suffers – and in doing so throws events and objects that seem innocuous into sharp relief. ‘The Red Tricycle’, for example, sparks recollections of Hollander’s mother being sexually abused by her father, and the poem imagines how ‘she held her mother’s big body / in her skinny white arms’. This is a heart-rending example of how Hollander charges even the plainest of lines with violent meanings: in its child-like simplicity, ‘big’ envelopes the poem in the consciousness of the abused child and emphasises the horrific inversion of a traumatised daughter having to comfort her own mother."
The underlying emotional urgency of Jodie Hollander's poems is undeniable - but it's their tone that makes them unignorable. This meeting of searing family dysfunction and poignant metaphor with her matter-of-fact American vernacular strikes sparks.
These poems bristle with the contained energy of conflicts that continue to shape who we are and impel what we do. The collection moves satisfyingly from wry observation – “at least nothing important got burnt / like Mother’s cello, or Father’s Steinway piano” (with its telling capital) – towards the uneasy peace of accepting that “destruction will do what it will do” and the discovery that poetry has the power to lay ghosts to rest – “I sat back, and watched what was here.”
-Andrew McCulloch, The Times Literary Supplement
These poems are full of situations redolent of grief and loss; yet they are far too vigorous to be depressing. The effect… is not of despair, but of rising to the occasion.
-Meg Crane, The Wilfred Owen Association
Online reviews at Sphinx Reviews
"This slim, elegant pamphlet is American poet Jodie Hollander’s first collection. I found it hauntingly sad and emotionally powerful."