Lisa Olstein


Lisa Olstein is the author of five poetry collections published by Copper Canyon Press: Radio Crackling, Radio Gone (2006), Lost Alphabet (2009), Little Stranger (2013), Late Empire (2017), and Dream Apartment (2023). She has also published two books of nonfiction: Pain Studies (Bellevue Literary Press, 2020), a book-length lyric essay on the intersection of pain, perception, and language; and Climate (Essay Press, 2022), an exchange of epistolary essays co-written with Julie Carr. Olstein’s honors include a John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, Lannan Writing Residency, Hayden Carruth Award, Writers League of Texas Discovery Book Award, and Sustainable Arts Foundation award. She is the Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches in the New Writers Project and Michener Center for Writers MFA programs. She is also the lyricist for the rock band Cold Satellite and curates an interview series with poets about their new books for Tupelo Quarterly. Source

I Want to Save This Whale

The one right in front of me

on e-mail, a chain message

forwarded by my mother

on the first day of this new year.

She’s tangled in nets and lines

and there’s only one way to

get her out, she tells us

with her bathtub-sized eyes

one at a time because we

have to swim around to see.






Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Science & Climate

Literary Devices:


The repetition of similar vowel sounds that takes place in two or more words in proximity to each other within a line; usually refers to the repetition of internal vowel sounds in words that do not end the same.


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work