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Jodie Hollander – MY DARK HORSES
June 23, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Set against the charms and vicissitudes of growing up in a family of musicians, Jodie Hollander’s beautifully-structured and compelling debut follows the story of a daughter’s maturing relationship with her mother. Interspersed with versions of Rimbaud, and always alert to the surreal comedy of the human condition, these powerful and immediate poems chart with huge passion, musicality and insight a complex journey towards familial understanding and reconciliation.
Jodie Hollander studied poetry in England and her poems have appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, PN Review, The Dark Horse, The New Criterion, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The Best Australian Poems of 2011, and The Best Australian Poems of 2015.
Praise for My Dark Horses
“This is a technically competent, enjoyable collection…You will feel your humanity strengthened by reading it.”
“My Dark Horses offers no easy solutions but rather, hard-won understanding.”
“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.”
—Stephen Grace, The Compass.
“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