In Andrea Hollander’s new collection Blue Mistaken for Sky we are being given something more than poems, we are being given human generosity, connection, and empathy. There are many gifts we get from experiencing art, from reading a great book, but one of the most important gifts the artist can give is that of vulnerability. With this new collection, Hollander is offering such a gift. Now it is up to us to be brave enough to receive it.
I don’t know what other women of a certain age do when their world collapses, but I know what a poet does. She writes it. And if she is caught in a nightmare of crushing brokenness, sealed in the perpetual winter of a glass bubble, she’ll scratch her poems on the walls with her fingernails if necessary. But she’ll write it. Andrea Hollander’s radiant new collection, Blue Mistaken for Sky, is a brave and unsentimental retelling of time held in abeyance, where “silence and darkness / entered together,” and of betrayals—not just of love, but sometimes of life itself. What does she teach us but that it takes a long time of swimming “in place against // furiously moving water” to be able to finally reclaim one’s own life. This collection is so beautiful, it hurts.
Andrea Hollander’s Blue Mistaken for Sky braids the complicated issues of facing loss while searching for balance and new beginnings. Her poetry is raw, fierce, yet tender and has an incredible authenticity. Whether she’s writing of the natural world or those she’s lost, every word rings true. Her poem “It Takes Time, They Tell Me” begins: “A cardinal flames from the bough / becomes the sun that so many days / ached its way down pulling me with it. . . .” And the poem ends: “I promise yes I will take whatever time / however long it takes / it takes” Read this book. Cherish its amazing poems.