Lisa Olstein

(Boston, Massachusetts)

Biography of Lisa Olstein

Lisa Olstein is an American poet. She grew up near Boston, Massachusetts, received a BA from Barnard College and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Her first book of poems, Radio Crackling, Radio Gone (2006) Copper Canyon Press won the Hayden Carruth Award. Her second collection, Lost Alphabet (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) was named one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal. Her most recent book of poetry, Little Stranger (Copper Canyon Press, 2013) was a 2013 Lannan Literary Selection and explores motherhood with equal parts irony and earnestness. In it she reveals a curiosity of our natural world that is both wonderful and terrifying.

Her poems have appeared in the The Nation, Iowa Review, Denver Quarterly, LIT, and other journals. She has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and poetry fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.

Olstein currently teaches in the New Writers Project (MFA program for Poets and Writers) at the University of Texas, Austin.

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Your Country Needs You

Maybe one time standing behind a podium
you heard voices and realized they were
what your own mouth just said and quickly
you grew accustomed to giving orders.
Or maybe standing there you said nothing
at all and the next thing you knew
some night shift nurse of the invisibly
wounded was monitoring your fitful dreams.
Like everyone, I'll watch indefinitely while

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