From Publishers Weekly
The poems in Olstein's Hayden Carruth Award–winning debut inhabit haunted interiors where "[g]arage doors open and close of their own volition," and landscapes where "everything blooms coldly" and "the sun shines through like a moon." Olstein constructs an almost impersonal, dreamlike atmosphere tinged with malaise, inertia and a sense that anything could happen but very little does. She is drawn to fluidity (references to water abound) and transitional states (from sleep to waking, from day to night); she is devoted to paradox, wonder and uncertainty. Such interests are nothing if not lyrical commonplaces, but Olstein's doggedness and focus lend them, here and there, a fresh vitality: "We huddle for warmth as if in a cave made of snow." The poems sometimes threaten to dissolve into a cloud of their own devising ("I'd never seen it so clear,// so gusty, so overcast, so clear, so calm"), but Olstein reins in her haziness with studiously regulated line lengths and stanza shapes. She is at her best—and certainly most distinctive—punctuating the book's cultivated vagueness with a blast of vivid, arresting detail: "April's first bee stumbles newly minted from its vault." (Nov.)
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About the Author
Lisa Olstein was born in 1972 and raised near Boston, Massachusetts. She earned a BA from Barnard and a MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, undertaking additional studies at Harvard Divinity School. Her debut volume, Radio Crackling, Radio Gone, won the prestigious Hayden Carruth Award. She currently directs the Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts & Action in Amherst, Massachusetts.