Late Empire

Late Empire

by Lisa Olstein


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“Olstein places the mystical next to the mundane. . . . She explodes theories of cause and effect and expands our notions of logic, symbolism, and the territory between dreams and waking experience.” — The Growler Poetry Review

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. Like a brilliant dinner conversation that ranges from animated discussions of politics, philosophy, and religion to intimate considerations of motherhood, friendship, and eros, Olstein’s voice is immediately approachable yet uncomfortably at home in the American empire.

From “Essay Means to Try”:

Already during these two weeks of crying
I’ve purchased seven books each of which felt important to own and taken one hundred and forty vitamins and filled three prescriptions,
none to help with the crying. I’ve waited patiently or impatiently in countless lines,
Whistle, sometimes crying . . .
Crying is how we enter the world, Whistle.
We all come by sea, we all come by storm, we all tear apart and are torn.

Lisa Olstein is the author of four books of poetry and earned an MFA at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She teaches at the Michener Center at the University of Texas and lives in Austin, Texas.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556595189
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publication date: 10/10/2017
Pages: 104
Sales rank: 828,199
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Lisa Olstein: Lisa Olstein’s debut collection of poetry Radio Crackling, Radio Gone (Copper Canyon, 2006) won the Hayden Carruth Award, and her second volume, Lost Alphabet (Copper Canyon, 2009), was named a “Best Poetry Book of the Year” by Library Journal. After receiving her BA from Barnard College, Olstein lived in Greece and studied at Harvard Divinity School before deciding to pursue an MFA at University of Massachusetts Amherst. She currently teaches at the University of Texas and lives in Austin.

Table of Contents

Built for It 3

This Is Our American America Here Is Your Son 4

Arrangements 5

Questions Are an Attribute of God 7

The Disaster 8

Night People 9

What We're Trying to Do Is Create a Community of Dreamers 11

We Look Forward to Seeing You Again Soon 12

It All Lights Up 13

Possibility of Repair 14

The Messengers Come When You Are Sitting at the Table 16

Blue Water Navy 17

Air Rights 18

I Want to Save This Whale 19

Turned Back the Disaster Comes Back 20

Cold Comfort 21

Nothing Good Gets Away 25

Lake Effect 26

Imply a Future 27

My Life Blew Upon 28

A Hundred Thousand Questions Why 29

Herd Flock Hive 30

Waiting for You to Speak I Mouth the Words 31

Fallback Position 32

Good Deeds Undone 33

We Mourn the End by Applauding 34

Wrong Question 35

Private Dick 36

The Resemblance of the Enzymes of Grasses to Those of Whales Is a Family Resemblance 39

It's Another Deadly Day 41

Sad Promotion 42

To the Left of Boom 43

Space Race 44

Now Lead Me Out of This Story, Spirit 46

A Simple Lesson on the Buried Spirit 47

Other Things in View 49

The Invention of Perspective 50

A Crucial Error 51

Essay Means to Try 52

Despair Fire 53

Every Pastoral Is an Elegy 54

A Poetics of Space 59

Where the Use of Cannon Is Impractical 77

Shot Through 78

So Long 79

Achilles Really Loved That Girl 80

Run Every Race As If It's Your Last 81

Consider Yourselves All "Debbie" 82

Ready Regret 83

Your Country Needs You 84

Charismatic Megafauna 85

Pioneer Me 86

Then They Ate Their Horses 87

The Canary's Job Is to Die 88

The Symptom Pool 89

People Are Hanged Curtains Are Hung 90

Unknown Beloved 91

Blue Stragglers 92

Cinders Of 93

Notes 96

Acknowledgments 97

About the Author 99

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