Radio Crackling, Radio Gone by Lisa Olstein

Issue #102
Spring 2007

Radio Crackling, Radio Gone, poems by Lisa Olstein (Copper Canyon): 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: "Insert bird for sorrow," her speaker insists. While the poems in this book often operate as sanctuary, the speaker’s signal turns siren, resulting in an eerie and emphatic alarm to alert us to the dangers of the conscious world. In "Parable of Grief," Olstein scripts violence onto the mundane; after regarding "snow-splashed grass" from her window, she levels this startling assertion: "When a bomb explodes in a marketplace every shred / of body must be searched for—flesh of watermelon, / fingernail, heart, stone." —Cate Marvin