Andrea Hollander is the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently Landscape with Female Figure: New & Selected Poems, 1982-2012, finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Other honors include an Oregon Literary Fellowship from Literary Arts, two Pushcart Prizes (in both prose and poetry), the D. H. Lawrence Fellowship, the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, the RUNES Poetry Prize, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2011, after living in the Ozark woods of Arkansas for 35 years, Hollander moved to Portland, where she teaches writing workshops at the Attic Institute and Mountain Writers Series.
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What’s on your nightstand right now?
Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost (essays)
Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light (memoir)
Paula Whyman, You May See a Stranger (linked stories)
Are you more likely to buy a print book or ebook?
Print book (I have never read an ebook.)
Tell us about your writing routine. Do you have a favorite time or place to write?
I write several mornings each week at my dining table immediately after breakfast. I spend at least two hours writing, but I think of these sessions only as practice, the way musicians think of practicing their instruments or visual artists think of sketching. In other words, I don’t expect that a “real” poem will result. Instead, during these sessions, with my fountain pen and a spiral-bound notebook, and I “play” with language, challenging myself to focus on one or more craft issues: Can I write a poem in which every line contains an image? Can I write a poem in which each line contains internal rhyme? Can I master the sonnet? What about enjambment? I try to forget what I know; I always begin, in fact, with a line or image or sentence that “arrives” while I sit and try to empty myself of any preconceived intention, especially in the matter of subject matter. In other words, I write not to say something but in order to discover something I did not know that I knew. This in itself takes both patience and practice. Approximately one in four sessions results in a successful poem (one that endures many subsequent revisions), but I learn something during every session.