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2013 OLF Recipient in Poetry: Andrea Hollander

Andrea Hollander is the 2013 recipient of The C. Hamilton Bailey Fellowship
. She has published four full-length poetry collections. Honors include the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, a D. H. Lawrence Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize for prose memoir, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Formerly the writer-in-residence at Lyon College for twenty-two years, she has lived in Portland since 2011.

Hollander was kind enough to answer several of our questions about her creative process and being a fellowship recipient.

1. What are your sources of inspiration?

Because I have always been an incurable and curious observer of the way we humans interact with one another and with the ordinary circumstances and challenges that come upon us, I find poetry a place to explore such matters.

2. How would you describe your creative process?

Although I do not fully understand the way a poem finally “arrives,” I come to the blank page early in the day and begin by clearing my mind as much as possible. I then give myself a craft-related “assignment” that sometimes leads me to create a poem in which I discover something important I did not know that I knew but that reveals itself in the process. Even when a worthwhile poem doesn’t result from my efforts, I consider the work I do on a failed poem or essay vital.

3. What is most exciting about receiving a fellowship?

The letter from Literary Arts arrived two days before I had to leave home for several months, and—already homesick to return to Portland—I felt very much welcomed and honored by the encouragement that the fellowship provides.

4. What are you currently working on?

I am simultaneously proofreading galleys for my forthcoming book, Landscape with Female Figure: New & Selected Poems, 1982–2012, and working on new poems and a lyric essay.

5. What advice do you have for future applicants?

My advice to other writers, whether or not they apply for a fellowship, is always the same: Read a lot, write often, and take a promising piece through many drafts. When submitting for publication or fellowships, send only your best work.

2013 OLF Judge Phillis Levin had this to say about Hollander’s work:

Andrea Hollander Budy, with artful turns and keen wit, weaves enchanting tales to disenchant us into insight. A tribute to the healing power of metaphor, her tough-minded poems find more than enough terror and beauty in the quotidian. ‘Finches or Sparrows’ veers into a visionary instant, the knowledge of how we look at one thing to see another, a perception of perception’s metamorphic nature. The poem opens with a deceptively simple problem, as if identifying a species of bird were her true concern… But the struggle to resolve ambiguity conceals a different drama. The poem unveils layer after layer until the illusion is exposed, leaving us with ordinary leaves—and the sense that we too have been changed by this spiraling journey. ‘My Grandmother Taking Off My Grandfather’s Shoes’ shows Budy working in the plainest style possible, compassion disguised as reportage: the poem is a feat of compression and irony, transmuting mute rage into an eloquent moral force.”

Completed applications for the 2014 Oregon Literary Fellowships are due to Literary Arts by Friday, June 28, 2013. Fellowships are awarded to Oregon residents in poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, drama and young readers literature. Fellowships are also awarded to publishers. Applications and guidelines are available at https://literary-arts.org/oba-home/apply/fellowships, or by contacting Susan Denning at susan@literary-arts.org.