Jennifer L. Hollis is a writer, music-thanatologist and the project director of Harps of Comfort, an organization that provides live, remote music to isolated patients; those with COVID-19 and other serious illness; patients nearing the end of life; and their loved ones and caregivers. She is writing a memoir in essays about the lessons she has learned from twenty-five years in end-of-life care.
Hollis is the author of Music at the End of Life: Easing the Pain and Preparing the Passage (Praeger) and a contributor to Religion and Healing in America (University of Oxford Press). She researched and wrote “How Faith Communities Facilitate Conversations Around End-of-Life Concerns,” an issue brief for The Pew Charitable Trusts, along with a series of Q&As with faith leaders. Her essays and articles have been published or are forthcoming in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harvard Review, The Rumpus, Creative Nonfiction and other publications.
Her poems have won the Crossroads International Contest (selected by Maggie Smith) and The Atlantis Award from The Poet’s Billow. They have been selected as finalists for contests by Breakwater Review, Atlanta Review and Public Poetry. Her poems have been published in Entropy, Cagibi, The Dewdrop, and Crosswinds Poetry Journal.
For twenty years, she has been a certified music-thanatologist, offering harp and vocal music to patients at the end of life in Montana, Oregon, Chicago, and Boston. From 2006-2012 she was the president of the Music-Thanatology Association International. Stories about her work have appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition, the Boston Globe and several podcasts.
She has a degree in child development from Connecticut College and a master of divinity from Harvard Divinity School, where, once upon a time, she was the assistant director of admissions. She lives outside Boston with her family.