Bookworm hosts poetry workshop June 27 |

Bookworm hosts poetry workshop June 27

"Every workshop is an opportunity to open up the exploratory world, where one can learn from themselves and experience their poetic ability," says local poet Jodie Hollander, who insists that poetry is for everyone. On Tuesday, she'll teach an open workshop at The Bookworm of Edwards to anyone interested in sparking their creativity. "Hosting this workshop is a way of highlighting a local author and a wonderful section of our store," said Bookworm owner Nicole Magistro. "Plus, who can argue with learning such a wonderful craft as poetry?" This workshop is open to all ages and skill sets — even people who are intimidated by poetry. "Everyone can work with poetry and express themselves," Hollander said. "You just have to come with an open mind and I will guide you to create work that you're proud of sharing." Hollander has been writing since childhood and was finally able to take her scribbles seriously later in life. "I have always been a writer and always been writing," she said. "In 2008, when I stopped teaching full-time, I was able to transfer careers and focus on poetry. I felt like I had been waiting for a long time to give writing a shot." There wasn't any hesitation in her career transition. "For me, the worst-case scenario was that I find another job. After diving in, it was clear to me that writing was what I was supposed to do with my life," she said. Her recent collection of poems, "My Dark Horses," focuses around her childhood of being raised by classically trained musicians. Those influences of rhythm and sound can be heard in her work. "When writing poetry, you have to incorporate music," she said. "Good poetry has to be pleasing to the ear and have a rhythm in the structure." Hollander works with students of all ages to create pleasing poetry regardless of their experience with writing. Her workshops — across the state and abroad — focus on different themes and combining artistries. Some merge writing with music or art. These combinations allow new sources of expression. "I didn't choose poetry, poetry chose me," Hollander said. "It has always felt like the right way to express myself."

Bookworm of Edwards hosts poetry writing workshop Thursday

EDWARDS — From iambic to trochaic, meter to free verse, sonnet to haiku, poetry is versatile and teachable. The Bookworm of Edwards invites aspiring poets of all ages and backgrounds to a poetry workshop today, led by American contemporary writer Jodie Hollander, author of "The Humane Society." During the workshop, she will share her extensive knowledge about reading and writing poetry, including how to structure, organize and develop poems, plus writing habits that support her creative process. The poetic form resonated with Hollander at a young age. "I grew up on the east side of Milwaukee, and at the time there was a great bookshop with a huge poetry selection," she said. "I remember spending hours in that store, camped out in the poetry section trying to decide what to buy — then finally taking home Mary Oliver's 'American Primitive,' Sylvia Plath's 'Ariel' and Sharon Olds' 'The Gold Cell.' Looking back on it now, I think I chose those poets because their language felt inclusive, their writing gave me the sense that I was being invited to take part in an intimate experience with language." The author's well-crafted poems bring to life deeply personal experiences and her poetry has a unique musicality to them. She believes good poetry has emotion at its core. For example, the beginning of her poem, "Taking My Mother to England," extracts themes of grief and loss within a moment of time. In my dream I took my mother with me to England — the long, long, flight she slept, rest, I said, save your strength, there's much for you to see in the little time that's left: Georgian buildings, the old country cottages, violinists in Oxford's cobbled streets. But I couldn't sit, I kept pacing the aisles wondering where I'd take my mother first, and I kept hearing my father's voice asking why take her anywhere with those moods? I have to — this is her last chance to see the places she's never seen. I must take her to England, and show her the place that saved me. "For me, good writing is about telling the truth," Hollander said. "I don't mean stating the facts. I'm talking about how you really felt when whatever happened happened. I think part of why people still turn to literature is to hear a sincere utterance of the human heart. There's a lot of false posturing and insincerity out there, but good literature doesn't have room for that — it drives at the core of what it means to be a human being, alive and suffering on this earth. My own work is built from the belief that it's OK to be vulnerable — in fact it's important to be vulnerable. We as human beings are sensitive, are sometimes strong and sometimes weak, are sometimes needy and sometimes lost; our hearts can be wounded and often are and most of us suffer all this privately." To express raw emotion and craft honest experiences into poetic language involves a practiced writing process. At the workshop, Hollander will read from her collection and encourage the participants to discover and explore their own unique voice and vision. Hollander has worked diligently at her craft and has been fortunate in finding a wide audience for her work. HOLLANDER'S EDUCATION She has added international footprints to her Midwestern roots by receiving her master's degree in creative writing at Bath Spa University in England. She also has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland. Hollander soon will attend La Napoule, a historic Chateau in France, for a fall residency writing program. Lisa Ekelman is a voracious reader, book group moderator and bookseller at The Bookworm of Edwards. Email comments about this story to

Library, author hosts poetry workshop

FAIRPLAY — Join author Jodie Hollander for a poetry workshop on the subject of memory and childhood that will center around how to structure and develop poems, and the creative process that is involved. Hollander will share how she got involved in writing poetry, as well as what writing habits have helped her most. Prepare for a great discussion, plus writing prompts to get you writing your own poems, with time for questions at the end. Jodie Hollander was raised in a family of classical musicians. She studied poetry in England and has published widely in journals such as Poetry Review, The Manchester Review, The Raintown Review, Verse Daily, The Warwick Review, The Dark Horse, and Australia's Best Poems of 2011. Her debut publication, "The Humane Society," was released with Tall-Lighthouse (London) in November 2012. She is a Fulbright fellow, a Hawthornden fellow, resident poet at Le Chateau de La Napoule in Nice, France, and was recently awarded a MacDowell Colony fellowship in February. She currently lives in Avon. To learn more about Jodie Hollanderand her work, visit her website at

Walking Mountains hosts nature writing workshop for kids, Aug. 28

AVON — Children are often the most observant explorers of the natural world around us, but they may not have the skills to put their discoveries into words. Walking Mountains Science Center's Nature Writing Workshop for Kids will combine the experience of nature exploration and the practice of children's inherent observational with the art of poetry. On Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., special guest poet Jodie Hollander will lead a day of blending the exploration of nature with the art of writing. Participants will learn the craft of nature writing while taking a hike, reading examples from other authors, learning basic poetic terms, finding their own special place in nature and attempting their own poems about an animal or something inspirational found in nature. Hollander's debut publication, "The Humane Society," was released in 2012, and her second book, "My Dark Horses," is forthcoming in 2017. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, and she is currently the poetry editor for GARO, the journal for the Rocky Mountain Land Library. More information on Hollander and her work is available at Hollander will co-present this workshop with a Walking Mountains Science Center field instructor. The Nature Writing Workshop for Kids is designed for children ages 8 to 12. Visit to learn more.

The Bookworm of Edwards hosts French night on Monday

EDWARDS — A local bookstore is a place that lends itself to an atmosphere of creativity, culture and community. The Bookworm of Edwards intends to bring all three of these things together for its first-ever French Night special. The evening will play host to two local residents, Jodie Hollander and Rosalie Isom. Hollander is a poet who has found great success locally and internationally, most recently completing a month-long stint with La Napoule foundation in France. Hollander grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has found herself living all over the states and abroad. She and her husband moved to the Vail Valley last April, where she currently works as a English and writing specialist with the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. Her published project, "The Humane Society," has been a successful work of poetry at The Bookworm of Edwards. Isom is a local French enthusiast and teacher. She has her own private teaching practice called Word for Word. French was always destined to be a part of her life. "My heritage is Sicilian," Isom said. "But no Italian was offered at my school, so I studied Latin and French. I wanted to be an interpreter. French will always be part of the equation now. I love to figure out what each student wants and provide that level of instruction." She currently teaches private lessons and hosts group lessons around the valley. The evening will begin with Hollander sharing about her time in Mandelieu de La Napoule, near Nice, France. The La Napoule foundation was set up by Marie and Henry Clews whose love of the arts inspired them to create an atmosphere for creativity to be cultivated. "Each year, the foundation accepts applications from an international pool of artists and invites eight to be guests of the chateau for a month-long residency," Hollander said. "Meals and private accommodations are provided, giving each artist an extended period of uninterrupted time to focus on their project. I worked on my first full-length poetry collection, 'Horse Bones,' which I completed during my residency." Hollander will not only be sharing her work with the audience that evening, but she will give her listeners a look into where inspiration is found. In her time with the fellowship, she and the other artists found their solace and muse easily. "The sea became my main source of inspiration during my residency," Hollander said. "I did most of my work in my bedroom with the sea in view." In addition to hearing from Hollander's travels and the sharing of her art, the night will also take people one step further into the French culture by exploring the language. Isom will be hosting a French lesson that reflects back on Hollander's fondest memories of France. Isom will explore the area of France the foundation is located, teach vocabulary specific to the region and unique to the everyday life that Hollander experienced. There will be a mixture of music and exercises throughout the lesson. Isom said that she is most excited about "the pleasure of English and French combining to create this atmosphere." There will be French appetizers, French music and, of course, French wine. It will be a night to inspire creativity, explore culture and unify the community. As Isom so beautifully states, "Poetry comes in all shapes, art in all forms — language is ever present." Sarah Taylor is an avid reader, local musician and manager at The Bookworm of Edwards.

Nature Writing Workshop for Kids in Avon on July 15

Children are often the most observant explorers of the natural world around us, but they may not have the skills to put their discoveries into words. The Nature Writing Workshop for Kids on Saturday, July 15, will combine the experience of nature exploration and the practice of children’s inherent observational with the art of poetry. Join Walking Mountains Science Center with special guest poet Jodie Hollander for a fun day blending the exploration of nature with the art of writing. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants will learn the craft of nature writing while taking a hike, reading examples from other authors, learning basic poetic terms, finding their own special place in nature and attempting their own poem about an animal or something inspirational found in nature. Jodie Hollander’s debut publication, “The Humane Society,” was released in 2012 and her second book, “My Dark Horses,” is forthcoming in September. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, and she is currently the poetry editor for GARO, the journal for the Rocky Mountain Land Library. More information is available at Hollander will co-present this workshop with a skilled Walking Mountains Science Center field instructor. The Nature Writing Workshop is designed for children 8 to 12 years old.

Poet speaks in Avon Thursday

AVON — April is National Poetry Month. Join the Eagle Valley Library District in celebrating at their scheduled poetry events. Things kick off today at 6:30 p.m. at the Avon Public Library for a reading from local poet Jodie Hollander. Hollander will be sharing some of her poetry, her experiences as a poet, answering questions and signing books. Hollander chatted with the Eagle Valley Library District about the art of poetry and what readers can expect tonight. Eagle Valley Library District: Tell us a little bit about your various writing experiences. Jodie Hollander: A deep quiet is really the best environment for a poet to create. Since the world is full of all kinds of noise and distractions, getting much accomplished in day-to-day life can be a challenge. Fortunately, residencies exist, which offer artists uninterrupted blocks of space and time to complete a particular project. I am very fortunate to have been awarded residencies in Australia, Scotland, France, Ireland and most recently at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. In addition to being able to focus solely on one's project, residencies allow artists to connect and share ideas with other artists from a variety of different backgrounds and perspectives. Last month at MacDowell, I was given a private house in the woods in which to work. I had a long desk that looked out into the snowy trees, a wood-burning fireplace and a cozy bed, perfect for deep dreaming. There was no Internet or cell phone reception, and my only responsibility was to get as much writing done as possible. The deep silence allowed me to hear the music of my own poems and work without distraction. During my month-long residency, I finished my second book, "Horse Bones," and began a new project of response poems to the French symbolist poet Rimbaud. Some other writing projects I've done include being a resident poet for the Betsy Hotel in Miami, Florida, bringing poetry to underserved populations as a Fulbright fellow in South Africa; and next week I'm headed to Stanley, Idaho, to be the town's inaugural artist in residence. EVLD: What advice do you give to individuals interested in poetry and writing? JH: First and foremost, I would say read as much poetry as possible — everything from the ancient poets to what is being written today. It's important to have a broad sense of what's already been done, and what's happening now, and where there might be room to say something new. It also gives you a chance to decide what you like and what you may want to emulate in your own writing. Some of my favorite poets are Robert Frost, Phillip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, Ruth Stone and Donald Justice. I would also suggest practicing writing as much as you can. While you're writing, try to get out as much as possible, and make it honest and real. Don't worry too much about how it sounds at first, you can worry about editing later. Also, all poets go through several drafts (in my case usually 30-40) before they come up with a version of a poem they're happy with. A great reference book that describes this is Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird." EVLD: What can we look forward to at tonight's program? JH: I'll be reading short selections from my first book, "The Humane Society," as well as some of my newer work from my recently completed book "Horse Bones," as well as a couple poems from my latest project of poems that respond to Rimbaud. Then I'm looking forward to answering questions and having a conversation about poetry. The library will be providing snacks and refreshments, and it ought to be a wonderful opportunity to talk further about poetry and kick off a celebration of National Poetry Month. The Eagle Valley Library District will also be celebrating National Poetry month on Monday, April 20, at 6 p.m. with an open poetry night. Individuals are welcome to share their own poetry, read from a favorite poet or simply listen and enjoy. Refreshments will be provided at both events. For more information, call the Avon Public Library at 970-949-6797 or the Eagle Public Library 970-320-8800.

Rocky Mountain Land Library has over 35,000 volumes of books in South Park

In 2017, the first residential library in the United States — located in Colorado — gained 1,000 supporters, raising more than $140,000 with a Kickstarter campaign. These virtual donators were supporting the vision of Jeff Lee and Ann Marie Martin that was inspired by a visit to the Gladstone Residential Library in Wales. “We came back to Colorado with the beginning of a dream: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to establish a residential library in Colorado, one that would focus on the importance of place in people’s lives,” recalls Jeff Lee, director of the Rocky Mountain Land Library. Located on South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch, a historic settlement along the bands of the Middle Fork of the South Platte River, sits the Rocky Mountain Land Library — a multitude of buildings housing more than 35,000 volumes of books, all focused on the land and the people. “At Buffalo Peaks Ranch, we’ll have the books to help you better understand your relationship to the land,” Lee said. “Plus, you’ll be surrounded at all times by the working landscape of the ranch, and beyond that, with the remarkable ecological diversity of South Park.” Beacon of ‘Literary Hope’ At The Bookworm of Edwards, hear from the team behind the library. The Land Library panel will host Jeff Lee, director and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Land Library; Christine Parker, editor-in-chief of Garo magazine; Jim Daus, executive director of Eagle Valley Land Trust; Jodi Hollander, poet and poetry editor of Garo Magazine; and Wendy Videlock, poet, who will be reading from her new published poetry book. “For me, the Land Library is a beacon of literary hope not only for the state of Colorado, but for our entire nation,” Hollander said. This diverse panel of people and organizations will showcase their connection to the library, answer questions and share how to get involved or plan your trip to the library. “It’s rare to have the chance to help build something from scratch,” Parker said. “The ranch’s beauty combined with the creative potential offers a sense of home and belonging.” Learning Space The Land Library has been established on conserved land, offering real opportunity for guests to connect with the land. “Conserved land like the land library property is rare,” Daus said. “Often conserved land is private, offering wildlife habitat in scenic views but no ability for you to actually get on the land and touch and feel its earth, wind and sky.” The Land Library is also a learning space with seminars, hands-on restoration projects and more. “People can participate in workshops, submit writing and artwork to Garo, our online journal, donate to help us grow, attend our events and, most importantly, spread the word about this exciting opportunity for Colorado,” Hollander said.

Jodie Hollander to present as poet in residence in Santa Barbara, California

Jodie Hollander didn't choose to be a poet — the profession chose her. "It's one of those things that I felt like I didn't have much of a choice," said Hollander, who also works at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and for Swift Communications. "If I didn't pursue it, it was going to pursue me." The published poet has accepted an invitation to be the poet in residence for the Morris Squire Foundation in Santa Barbara, California, from Thursday through Tuesday, Oct. 25. "People tend to not flock to poetry as they would to other events, and as a result, there's a really small audience and so it's very competitive to get these types of opportunities," she said. "I'm really excited." Hollander will give a number of readings and talks, as well as speak at events, while being the first poet in residence for the foundation, which is a nonprofit empowerment organization dedicated to programs for artists, curators and all manner of creative people. Excitement ahead The part-time teacher writes mostly about her experience growing up in a family full of professional classical music players in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, she's hoping to write more about her experiences in Colorado moving forward, having been in the valley for two years. She's working on another book responding to the work of French symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud and will become the poet in residence for the town of Seaside, Florida, in January. "I have a really exciting year ahead," she said. Visit for more information about the Squire Foundation. For more information about Hollander, visit http://www.jodie Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

Local author Jodie Hollander at Vail Public Library on Wednesday, June 15

VAIL — Today at 5:30 p.m., the Vail Public Library hosts local author Jodie Hollander, who will recount her recent trip on the SS Vallejo houseboat in Sausalito, California, as part of the Varda Artists Residency Program. Hollander will share her experiences on the SS Vallejo, followed by a discussion of her poetry. Since the late 1940s, the SS Vallejo has been a meeting place for artists and intellectuals. Jean Varda, Gordon Onslow Ford, Mark Tobey, Wolfgang Paalen, Roberto Matta and Ruth Asawa either lived on or stayed at the SS Vallejo. Cultural figures such as the philosopher Alan Watts have also resided there. Others who have been connected to the boat at one time or another include intellectuals Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg, writers Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller and Maya Angelou, musician Harry Partch, filmmakers James Broughton and Agnes Varda and curator Grace McCann Morley. The aim of the Varda Artists Residency Program is to provide a prolific environment where creative people can exchange innovative ideas and technical knowledge and produce new works. The residency is private and by invitation only. Hollander was raised in a family of classical musicians. She studied poetry in England and has published her work in journals such as The Poetry Review, The Dark Horse, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The Warwick Review, Agenda, Australia's Best Poems, 2011, and Australia's Best Poems, 2015. Her debut publication, "The Humane Society," was released by Tall-Lighthouse (London) in 2012. Hollander is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa and was awarded a MacDowell Colony fellowship in 2015. She is currently the poetry editor for GARO, the new online journal for the Rocky Mountain Land Library. More information is available at