Poet Spotlight: Rebecca Hart Olander on the Flaws and Snags of Love

dressing the wounds-rebecca hart olandera

Rebecca Hart Olander’s poetry has appeared recently in Crab Creek Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. Collaborative work made with Elizabeth Paul has been published in multiple venues online and in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence Press). Rebecca is a Women’s National Book Association poetry contest winner and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her chapbook, Dressing the Wounds, was published by dancing girl press in 2019, and her debut full-length collection, Uncertain Acrobats, is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in 2021. Rebecca teaches writing at Westfield State University and is editor/director of Perugia Press. Find her at rebeccahartolander.com and @rholanderpoet.

dressing the wounds-rebecca hart olanderYour new collection of poetry is Dressing the Wounds. Tell us about the project and how it came into being. 

The new collection is also my first collection, and it came into being in kind of an unusual way, at least for me. In sum, I created it with a specific press in mind, and I didn’t get feedback on the manuscript as a whole before submitting it for consideration. To explain further, in the summer of 2018, I was feeling pretty discouraged by the lack of success I was having placing my full-length manuscript. I had finished my MFA program three years prior, and each year I was having a steady incline in individual subs being accepted, but lots of rejections (and a nice bunch of semi-finalist/finalist nods) for the book. I felt like it was high time I had a book in the world, and it began to seem silly that I hadn’t even had a chapbook out yet. Even students of mine were publishing chaps, and I was feeling like I’d skipped a step trying to go from individual publications to placing a full-length manuscript. 

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Culture Consumption: July 2020

Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, and games.

Books

The Good House by Tananarive DueThe Good House by Tananarive Due is an utterly fantastic horror novels. Angela Toussant inherited the Good House from her grandmother, a woman well known in the small Sacajawea, Washington, community for her “healing magic.” When Angela returns with her son for summer vacation, she hopes to draw on some of that magic to heal her broken marriage. Instead, a surprising and violent tragedy strikes, driving her into a deep depression. Years later, she returns with the aim of healing her own emotional wounds, only to instead begin to notice a pattern of tragedies that may all be connected to something restless living within her old family property.

The Good House is multi-layered in nearly every aspect of its depictions — from the characters to the world building to the writing style to the cultural context. Although primarily focused on Angela, the story jumps between timelines and perspectives, providing an added nuance to events. And importantly, the horrors are truly terrifying. Due is a masterful writer, and I’ll definitely be reading more of her work in the future.

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New Books in Poetry: The Spinning Place by

Chelsea Wagenaar-The Spinning Place

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up. I had a delightful conversation with Chelsea Wagenaar about her new book The Spinning Place (Southern Indiana Review Press).

Chelsea Wagenaar is the author of two collections of poetry, most recently The Spinning Place was winner of the 2018 Michael Waters Prize. Her first collection, Mercy Spurs the Bone, was selected by Philip Levine to win the 2013 Philip Levine Prize. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of North Texas, and currently teaches at Valparaiso University. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Image and The Southern Review.

“Moon-sliced star-pocked
streetlit bleat, coal train moving
like its own ghost along the tracks.
2:00, 3:000, my shadow sways
as I catch myself, hand on the wall,
pulled from bed by your nocturnal haunt,
you at your crib rail, blanket clutched,
more sound than body.”

— from “Night Shift”

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.


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Culture Consumption: June 2020

Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, games, and podcasts.

Books

My reading has been rather slow of late — to the extent that I didn’t complete a single book last month. However, I have been reading The Good House by Tananarive Du — an absolutely phenomenal horror novel (at least thus far). The book is on the longer side (a good thing) and I’ve been pacing myself because, as I said, my reading has been slow. I’ll likely finish it this month.

Total Books for the Year: 22

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: The Good House by Tananarive Due, The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel, From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes: Adapted Poems by B.C. Edwards and Children of Lovecraft edited by Ellen Datlow

Movies

If you’re going to make a zombie musical, you need three things — great music, fun zombie gore, and characters you can get behind. Anna and the Apocalypse manages to have all three.

Anna and the Apocalypse

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TWELVE Now Available for Preorder!

Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm

Life has been pretty overwhelming of late, so much so that I haven’t had time to announce some pretty exciting news.

My new chapbook of prose poetry — Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tale — is available for preorder at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

Twelve is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Bewitching and beguiling, this short series of linked poems takes the reader to the underrealm and back, following the stories of twelve princesses and their life after the magic shoes.

“Andrea Blythe’s collection of the retold (and often feminist) Brothers Grimm fairytale, ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses,’ is a breath of air at the bottom of the ocean. It’s not only fresh, but it’s so different and unique that it deserves multiple reads. One of my favorite lines in the book is also something we should all ask ourselves, ‘Do you mean it?’”

— Joanna C. Valente

Honestly, it’s been a delight working with Interstellar Flight Press to bring this chapbook into being. From the editing process to the cover design to the layout, this has been a wonder collaborative process, resulting in a book that I’m incredibly proud of writing.

Twelve is scheduled to launch this September (assuming all goes well, considering the current world situation).

Preorder and Get Swag

If obtaining a copy of my shiny new book is not enough of an incentive by itself, Interstellar Flight Press is offering swag to the first 50 people who preorder. The swag bag includes gorgeous red-edged, hand-numbered broadside with lines from from the book, as well as stickers and various surprise items.

However, if you can’t afford to purchase the book, I totally understand. Times are tough right now, after all.

Buying a book is not the only way support authors. So, here are a few other ways that you can help out:.

  1. Shout Out the Book – Tell your friends about it, share it on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever. Word of mouth is major ways that people find new books.
  2. Request the Book at Your Local Library and/or Bookstore – Asking for the book at a local store lets them know that there is interest in the book. As a result, they’re more likely to stock it on their shelves. Same with libraries.
  3. After You’ve Read the Book, Leave a Review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Elsewhere – As with all of these suggestions, leaving an honest review out there in the world helps spread the word about books.

Thank you so much for being a part of my community, for reading this blog, and for providing what support you can along the way.

May you continue to survive and thrive


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