Uncertain Acrobats

My first full-length collection, Uncertain Acrobats, was published in November of 2021 by CavanKerry Press, a not-for-profit literary press serving art and community. This book was written for and about my father, Thomas Seymour Hart. It’s a love letter of sorts, and it’s also an illness and grief narrative in poems. My dad died in 2012, and much of the book deals with the end of his life and my deep missing of him after his death; it also dwells in memories of his life and how it intersected with mine. My book was chosen in 2019 after I submitted the manuscript to CKP during their open reading period. The beautiful cover is designed by Ryan Scheife of Mayfly Designs. Uncertain Acrobats is for sale at the CKP bookshop. You can also purchase signed author copies from me through Venmo (@Rebecca-Olander-2) for $18.00, including shipping.


Check out this coverage of Uncertain Acrobats in the “Book Bag” column of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Steve Pfarrer noted, “The poems offer a rich portrait of Olander’s father as a younger man while also describing the end of his life, her deep sense of loss from his death, and how her father’s life intersected with hers.”


I was featured in Mass Poetry’s “Getting to Know” interview series with Massachusetts-based poets. They ask about a poet’s new collection, poetic influences, writing routines, and how poetry first came into a poet’s life. To the last, I answered, “Writing poetry has been the way I encounter and try to understand the mysteries, complications, sorrows, and joys of being human.”

One of my former students, Enaira “Marynna” DaSilva, interviewed me for NewsWise, a publication out of Westfield State University, where I teach. I had a book launch there featuring several of my former students “opening” for me, including Marynna. In response to Marynna asking me why this book should be on people’s reading lists, I answered, “Though my book is centered around my relationship with my father and the process of his dying and my grief, I think it will speak to all who have loved and lost and are doing the human work of navigating through that as gracefully, and gratefully, as we can.”


Dressing the Wounds

My first chapbook, Dressing the Wounds, was published in October of 2019 by dancing girl press, an indie press and design studio in Chicago. The press publishes an annual chapbook series featuring the work of women poets, and my manuscript was one of those chosen by Editor Kristy Bowen during the dgp annual open reading period in the summer of 2018. The gorgeous front and back cover art pictured below were made by painter & poet Laura Page. Dressing the Wounds is for sale at the dgp website. You can also purchase signed author copies from me through Venmo (@Rebecca-Olander-2) for $10.00, including shipping.


Check out this book review of Dressing the Wounds, written by Jennifer Martelli, featured at Mom Egg Review. Martelli writes, “I loved this collection, which is an homage to the split apart and the re-joining, an homage to sound, to poetry. This is a collection to be read out loud, and then, read out loud to a beloved.”


Here’s a conversation I had with Andrea Blythe for her “Poet Spotlight” column, touching on my chapbook, teaching, editing, writing community, what I’m reading, and who I recommend others should read. An excerpt: “I write to reconcile myself to myself, and to those I love, and to the world around me, and reconciliation is an active form of living and loving … Writing is a way to confront, to address wounds and reckon with them and try to puzzle out how to feel about them, how to move forward in spite of them … My intention was to try to express myself in a way that extended beyond what would matter to me, and I hope that readers find their similar wounds addressed too.”

Here’s a conversation I had with Libby Maxey about my chapbook Dressing the Wounds, my writing practice, and my work as an editor, featured in Literary Mama. In response to Maxey asking “How is childhood a way in for you, as writer and as wife/mother?” I answered, “I do tend to mythologize childhood, as a terrain to visit in search of understanding. I think this comes from my obsession with time. I want to arrest time, to harness it in the body of poems, and when I look to childhood for keys to how adults act in the now, I go searching with a measure of both envy and empathy.”