PAIN STUDIES

Forthcoming March 2020 from Bellevue Literary Press


Lisa Olstein’s luminous meditation on pain winds around a beautifully curated series of artifacts. Bits of poetry, ancient medicine, brain science, television episodes, excerpts from the trial of Joan of Arc, and works of art support the spiderweb on which her insights hang like condensed mist. A fascinating, totally seductive read! – Eula Bliss

Lisa Olstein’s remarkable Pain Studies is a book built of brain and nerve and blood and heart, about what it means to live with pain. Irreverent and astute, synthesizing the personal and the historical, popular culture and poetry and visual art, Pain Studies will change how you think about living with a body in our beautiful and doomed world. – Elizabeth McCracken

These spectacular sentences chart a thrilling investigation into pain, language, and Lisa Olstein’s own exile from what Woolf called ‘the army of the upright.’ On a search path through art, science, poetry, and prime-time television, Olstein aims her knife-bright compassion at the very thing we’re all running from. Pain Studies is a masterpiece. – Leni Zumas


Late Empire

This timely yet elemental collection from Olstein (Little Stranger) unfolds where the exigencies and distractions of daily life brush up against the political, the ethical, and the existential... Olstein’s profound and attentive poems reveal her formal dexterity and knack for spotting modernity’s absurdities. – Publishers Weekly

Olstein here meditates on a world gone awry, limning in precise, beautifully modulated language both personal dislocation and the slings and arrows visited upon the community at large. – Library Journal

In Late Empire, Lisa Olstein’s fourth poetry collection, the poet throws herself into a disturbing discussion about 21st-century realities, pinpointing, questioning, and exhorting. It’s a riveting picture of the micro, day-to-day busy-ness against the macro, overshadowing struggle of existential survival. ...Olstein is a master of poetic syntax. Her words paint fresh, beautiful images.– Rain Taxi

In her fourth book―a gorgeous call-to-arms in the face of our current social and political conditions―Lisa Olstein employs her signature wit, wordplay, candor, and absurdity in poems that are her most personal―and political―to date.  – Prairie Schooner

Brilliant and provocative... Olstein realizes that the rules of language must be questioned, interrogated, and revised from within. – The Literary Review

Olstein’s book asks how—how on earth, this late in an empire that has done irreparable harm—a poet can manage to write what she sees out there in a merciless space indeed. – Poetry International


Little Stranger

Beautifully crafted and unsettling in just the right way, these poems track a poet of growing importance. – Library Journal

Is she just smarter about syntax, more articulate about human drama, more imaginative about eeriness, more insightful about sadness, more capable of turning a novel phrase, more engaging a storyteller than nearly all the rest of her peers? Well, yes. – Huffington Post

..leaping, blurring, multifaceted, vertiginous poems that complicate and perhaps ridicule the simple ache in the simple heart. – Black Warrior Review

In her third collection, Olstein considers nature, faith, motherhood, and even the media with authority. [Her] repetitions of images and words become echoes of a fierce conversation with the universe.  – Book List

Taut, sonically driven and darkly funny. – The Volta


Lost Alphabet

Olstein’s beautiful and ambitious collection unfolds just as it should, telling us a story without sounding like a storybook.– Library Journal Best of 2009 selection

Lisa Olstein’s second collection of poems, Lost Alphabet, is a fascinating and inventive exploration of observation. – American Poet

Most appealing is Olstein’s sensitive, quietly pained and earnest tone, which, more than the unusual subject, is the real star of this book. – Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review


Radio Crackling, Radio Gone

This poet brings a sparkling consciousness to the page and an exciting new voice to American poetry. – Library Journal

Olstein’s first book weaves its reader into a sensual and fibrous dreamscape inhabited by totem animals, somnambulist lovers hypnotic with longing, and symbols boldly acknowledged for their inherent duplicity. – Ploughshares

Each poem stands on its own, total and whole: an intricate, delicate little world. –Coldfront Magazine