Late Empire

Future-haunted and disaster-veering, Late Empire inhabits the complexities of the present moment—absurd, intimate, and brutal. Staked at the troubled intersection of our public and private lives, these poems expose a dailiness shaped by political inanity and a language shaped by long war. Wonderfully tender, syntactically dazzling, and defiantly funny in the face of terror, Lisa Olstein’s signature prismatic lens is put to profound use in her fourth collection. Late Empire speaks just in time, signaling that hope and fear are closer than we know, that they face in the same direction.

Forthcoming from Copper Canyon in fall 2017.


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