Nicole Rollender

Nicole Rollender (Poetry) | Trevose, PA

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Nicole Rollender’s work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, The Journal, Memorious, THRUSH Poetry Journal, West Branch, Word Riot and others. Her first full-length collection, Louder Than Everything You Love, was published by ELJ Editions in December 2015. She’s the author of the poetry chapbooks Arrangement of Desire (Pudding House Publications, 2007), Absence of Stars (dancing girl press & studio, 2015), Bone of My Bone, a winner in Blood Pudding Press’s 2015 Chapbook Contest, and Ghost Tongue (Porkbelly Press, 2016). She has received poetry prizes from CALYX Journal, Ruminate Magazine and Princemere Journal. She is editor of Wearables magazine and executive director of professional development for the Advertising Specialty Institute; she holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from Stockton University and an MFA in creative writing from Pennsylvania State University, where she taught rhetoric and composition and creative writing courses for several years.


Louder Than Everything You Love (ELJ Editions, 2015). Poetry.


  • Ghost Tongue, Porkbelly Press, 2016
  • Absence of Stars, dancing girl press & studio, 2015
  • Bone of My Bone, Blood Pudding Press, 2015
  • Arrangement of Desire, Pudding House Publications, 2007

Press & Reviews

In this haunted and searching debut, Louder Than Everything You Love, Nicole Rollender intones the music of the body and its bones. Bones ring out from these pages as bells ring out from a cathedral—beautiful, reliable, ominous—to mark the inexorable passage of time which forms this collection’s central point of disquiet. Sometimes tender, sometimes fierce, always heart-wrenching, these poems are as much visitations from the dead as psalms for the living. Interrogating the impermanence of life, Rollender ultimately constructs a testimony to permanence through those very “bones, our bones, [which] will always shine in the dark earth.” Just as these poems shine.
—Cynthia Marie Hoffman, author of Sightseer, Her Human Costume and Paper Doll Fetus

How do we live in a world made of simultaneous isolation and connection? How do we live in a world made of body? These are the questions Nicole Rollender’s stellar Louder Than Everything You Love asks. These poems place desire, femininity, and contemporary motherhood into conversation with each other in a way we have never before seen. These poems demand to be read, just as their messages demand to be understood. Rollender brings us on a
journey, one in which we”claw for any light.”
—Peter LaBerge, founder and editor-in-chief of The Adroit Journal and author of Hook

Nicole Rollender’s Louder Than Everything You Love resonates of love and loss—all the while clinging to the sublime world around it. These transformative, stirring, deeply personal and beautifully written poems are filled with tenderness and a fragile but keen awareness of the poet’s inner self and force: “this field that’s no more: to give up this earth is to sacrifice my body.” Rollender’s alluring language shimmers within this intimate collection, which reckons light and dark; reminds us why poetry is urgent and vital.
—Helen Vitoria, editor-in-chief of THRUSH and author of Corn Exchange

Nicole Rollender’s poems balance on the uneasy boundary between third eye and communion wafer. Beside an “old woman shaking fish skeletons to conjure the dead,” the poet as body becomes a conduit for the generations in both directions, such that her “body is full of holes the dead / look in and out,” while of her daughter she says, “my ribs / were her scaffolding.” Rollender alternately glories and suffocates in her holy entanglement with her lineage, with her God. And when she comes up for air, she ululates a hauntingly familiar song.
—Jessica Goodfellow, author of Mendeleev’s Mandala

I’ve found myself wondering what it is about some of Nicole Rollender’s poetry that appeals to me so strongly—and I think a large part of it is because, not only is her writing style unique and emotional and visceral, there is also nothing black and white or right and wrong about her content. It is mentally connected and haunted in both light and dark ways. It is questioning (of the past, present and future), female body-based (including discomfort associated with parts of the living body combined with joy for parts of what the body can do combined with pain and what the body can handle and how it can unexpectedly malfunction), and drawn to another dimension in a haunted sort of way.
—Juliet Cook, Blood Pudding Press

Nicole Rollender challenges us to be brave as we travel through silent places, to carry stones in our pockets as she leads us into the River Ouse, following Virginia Woolf’s death by water. The incessant quest brings us to the verge of the abyss, but never in ways that are morbid: she makes us feel how much owning a body can hurt, but also offers the possibility of rebirth.
—Alessandra Bava, They Talk About Death

Bone of My Bone by Nicole Rollender is one of three 2015 chapbook contest winners with Blood Pudding Press. The book is tangibly pleasurable, from the artwork to the lacy binding—one hundred percent objet d’art. It’s a meaningful contrast to the poems within; poems that are bodily rooted in the physical world, but push against the metaphysical as a thematic motif of the Liturgy of the Hours. “Bone of My Bone” is an anxious reckoning of grief and hope, of motherhood and the body, in a way that is reminiscent of Louise Gluck’s The Wild Iris. Rollender’s work inhabits a physical space, but never stops circling around the question of what exists after the body does not.
—Lauren Gordon, Fiddle is Flood

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