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Making Music Out Of Words: Poet Jodie Hollander's New Collection, 'My Dark Horses'

Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

Poet Jodie Hollander's aim is to make words sing, no matter where in the world she is writing them. 

Hollander was born and raised in Milwaukee. But for the past two decades, she has been traveling the world developing her craft.

She attended Pomona College in California and then went to the United Kingdom for graduate studies. Since 2007, she has been participating in artist residencies and fellowships around the world, including a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study in Italy and other opportunities around the United States, the UK and in Australia and France.

Her first collection of poetry, The Humane Society, was published by a British press in 2012. In April 2017, she'll be publishing another, called My Dark Horses, ​with a different publisher from across the pond. 

She uses a combination of metre and "light metre," which puts stresses on various syllable patterns in her poetry. This creates, what she calls, a "musical backbone" to her poems.

"I like to think about poetry as somewhere in the middle between prose and music," Hollander says. "If I can make words sing in some capacity, then I'm giving them a different meaning than if I were to write a story or an article or a prose piece."

She considers her upbringing in a family of classical musicians, though she wasn't one,  to be a muse of her poetry. "I think that was actually good for me in the building of a poetic sensibility," she explains. "Because I think that, by nature,  poets are on the outskirts, and they're observers."

Maayan is a WUWM news reporter.