The Luster of Everything I’m Already Forgetting is Nicole Rollender’s second evocative poetry collection that delves into a diverse array of profound themes. Through heartfelt poems, the poet explores the profound emotions of parenthood and motherhood, reflecting on the journey of raising premature babies and the sanctity of marriage. The collection delves into the spiritual quest, intertwining Catholic and Christian themes, and pays homage to inspiring saints like St. Padre Pio, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Dymphna, St. Maria Goretti, and more. Amid the haunting imagery of the battlefields at Gettysburg, the poet reckons with ancestral stories and superstitions passed down by maternal immigrants from Eastern Europe. The poems explore the mystique of living with the paranormal, the resilience in overcoming addiction and depression, and the powerful themes of forgiveness and redemption. Throughout these verses, the book's message shines brightly, reminding us that regardless of our past, we can always find hope in starting anew.
“Love doesn’t want this body,” begins one of the first poems in this astounding collection. Nicole Rollender asks you to bear witness to her unwavering devotion and tenderness to God, family, grief, marriage, motherhood, sobriety—while navigating the world as an empath with a heart outstretched far beyond the self. The word sonder comes to mind in reading these poems. These immensely personal poems are keenly aware that the world beyond the self is as vivid, complex and random as her own: “Despite eternity, we inherited one form of destruction./ Body, a river for the living and dead to depart in and out.” Rollender invites you to step inside these poems quietly and listen.
—Helen Vitoria, Corn Exchange and founder, THRUSH Poetry Journal
These poems transverse the luminosity of blind faith, murky waters of desired redemption and breathless desperation of birth, death and everything in between. These are the painfully proclaimed incantations of the lived life. Nicole Rollender, with hand on heart, displays the beauty of transgressive hope, the vagaries of the body that sometimes betrays when we need it most, and the inexplicable nature of God and everything, no matter how insignificant, in His creation that He crowns with a garland of holy aspirations we cling to. These poems offer us a transformative experience that shows how it’s possible to live, breathe and transcend.
—Michelle Reale, Season of Subtraction and Blood Memory: Prose Poems
Poetry collections are so often referred to as “stunning” that the word has lost its punch, but I’m literally stunned by this collection. Whether or not you come to these pages with a belief in God, Nicole Rollender’s poems will move through you like hymns, holy incense curling in the air of your room. This book tells stories of a family of women whose lives rise from its pages in a chorus of losses and longing passed down generations, from mouth to mouth. Readers will feel personal and world history lowered like a weight, yet fashioned in language so beautiful we can only gasp in admiration, even as we’re crushed. Writing about motherhood, marriage, stillbirth, traumatic brain injury, and the difficulties and joys of faith, Rollender made a book of poems like stained glass images that allow the light through, dripping with color, each poem a prayer for a world we’re lost in and losing.
—Francesca Bell, What Small Sound
About the Author
A NJ Council on the Arts poetry fellow, Nicole Rollender is the author of the poetry collections, The Luster of Everything I’m Already Forgetting (Kelsay Books, 2023) and Louder Than Everything You Love (Five Oaks Press), and four poetry chapbooks. She has won poetry prizes from Palette Poetry, Gigantic Sequins, CALYX Journal, and Ruminate Magazine and has been nominated for a Pushcart prize. Her work appears in Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, Ninth Letter, Puerto del Sol, Salt Hill Journal, and West Branch, among many other journals. She's managing editor at THRUSH Poetry Journal. Nicole holds an MFA from the Pennsylvania State University.
Paperback: 110 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (July 29, 2023)