Jodie Hollander was raised in a family of classical musicians. Around the dinner table, talk inevitably turned to Bach and Beethoven, Chopin and Coplin. A lot of words were exchanged about arrangements that contained none.
Perhaps that’s why she became a poet.
She chooses words as carefully as a composer selects notes, and her award-winning work has been published in a number of journals, including The Poetry Review, The Yale Review, PN Review, The Dark Horse, The Rialto, Verse Daily and The New Criterion, as well as both the 2011 and 2015 collections of “The Best Australian Poems,” among others.
Her debut collection, “My Dark Horses,” was published in 2017.
Hollander, recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, a Hawthornden Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in Italy, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, lives in Colorado, but is coming west to lead two poetry workshops on Bainbridge.
It is, Hollander said, her first time visiting the island.
“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “I love teaching and I like to do a sort of a combination where in the first half of the class, we’ll really look at particular techniques that are effective in building a poem. We’ll look at editing techniques and how do you create sound and how do you create imagery? And then, usually during the second half of the class, I’ll give students some writing prompts so that they can go around and sort of gather ideas for the rough draft of a poem.
“And then I usually like to give the students a little bit of time to write a rough draft so that we can read and share the rough drafts, and maybe go over some editing techniques at the end.”
The first workshop, on Sunday, July 14, “Ekphrastic Poetry with Jodie Hollander,” will take place, appropriately enough, at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.
It is appropriate, as ekphrastic poetry explores art. Using a rhetorical device known as ekphrasis, the poet engages with a painting, drawing, sculpture, or other form of visual art (though some consider poetry about music and dance a type of ekphrastic writing, too).
Students will learn about poetry inspired by art, explore vivid imagery, sonics, and revision techniques, and draft an original poem of their own. No experience is necessary.
“The idea is we’ll use the current art exhibit as inspiration to create poems,” Hollander said. “It isn’t something I’ve done that much of in my own work but it is something that I’ve taught quite a few times, just because it’s really nice to bring together the two genres of visual art and poetry and it tends to attract people from both worlds, and the visual art can function as a fantastic sort of springboard to creating new stuff.”
The price of admission is $43 for BIMA members, or $50 for non-members. Visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4251384 to learn more and register.
The second workshop, “Poetry of Place,” on Wednesday, July 17, is being hosted by the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN) Writers’ Studio.
In it, students will focus on the significance of place in poetry. Place being defined as a geographical location, an internal state, or perhaps a poetic meeting of the two.
“We’ll use the immediate surroundings for inspiration but there will also be an opportunity for participants to go back into their own memories and think about particular places that inspired them, whether that be in childhood or recently or maybe on a trip that they took, or a different place where they lived, and how one’s inner geography impacts the outer geography and vice-versa,” Hollander said.
Additionally, the class will center on how to structure and develop poems and the creative process that is involved and also look at meter and line breaks. Students will consider how sound works as a gateway to the senses and how musicality creates its own kind of meaning within a poem.
The cost to attend is $60 for BARN members, $104 for non-members. Visit www.bainbridgebarn.wildapricot.org/event-3411510 to learn more and register.
Again, no experience is necessary.
In fact, Hollander suggests students in either workshop bring some paper, some pens and/or pencils — and not much else.
“Anyone who is interested in poetry and wants to learn is an ideal student to me,” she said.
“I think as long as they bring pen and paper and an open mind — that’s all they need. Because we’re going to be diving into ourselves and generating the poetry from there.”