Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet is the author of The Greenhouse (Frost Place Prize) and Tulips, Water, Ash (Morse Poetry Prize). Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Plume, Zyzzyva, Kenyon Review, Nasty Women Poets, and the Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. She has received fellowships from the Phelan Foundation, Javits Foundation, Millay Colony for the Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and a BA in contemporary American literature from Yale University. Lisa reads, writes, edits, teaches, and co-coordinates the Lilla Lit reading series in Portland, OR, where she lives with her husband and son.
“…a poem of vertiginous self-consciousness: its extremity of feeling countervailed by the pressure of silence it makes felt. Like Gerard Manley Hopkins in ‘No worst, there is none’, this poet brings experience to a pitch in language at once pared back and wild with its play of repeating words and sounds.”
“Investigates the joys and complexities of this evolution, this meld and pull, with verve and a calming intelligence.”
“The Greenhouse is as alive as the title promises. These poems are wildly thoughtful, pensively wild.”
“The voice that guides us through this unknown territory is dependable and a bit confessional, unique, and unstoppable.”
“Until reading Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet’s The Greenhouse … I didn’t know what a chapbook could do. I’d read plenty of moving chapbooks, sure. But to create, in only twelve poems, an experience as urgent, as real, and as necessary as The Greenhouse is astonishing.”
“These multivocal poems reverberate with questions, asides, daydreams, mathematical calculations…. It is thrilling to follow Stonestreet on this journey, through patience and restlessness, moving from one thought to the next while she goes about the daily chores of looking after a young child. The speaker doesn’t seem dulled by the monotony and sleep deprivation but …
“Throughout this brilliant collection, Stonestreet’s curiosities and honesties are bracing and true, as she chides and nurtures, studies and entreats, meditates, amuses, and sings, even if it’s just ‘one song when all the rest have fled from memory.”
“Stonestreet mixes the playful and the profound, and the result well represents its place in a venerable series.”
“The speaker wildly zags from the human scale to the galactic, riffing on anything that could be considered Other… deliver[ing] surprise after surprise. Tulips, Water, Ash is a book that excels at such surprises, striking fresh sparks of meaning from line to line and, sometimes, word to word.”
“A wonderfully alive, actively thinking attentiveness…. darting this way and that toward meaning, opening our eyes and ears, our minds, to continual change—personal, communal, and cosmic. Keenly aware of the potential ‘heat in the flint, light in the twig,’ she shows us how to see the very flux of life.”
“The rich light in this book—of street fairs, sun through the windshield—might half-blind us if this poet weren’t looking with such close and dark attention. Again and again, memory swims up from childhood, and love disturbs and soothes.”
“It is rare to see a collection, debut or not, that is so impeccably crafted—precise, wonderfully complicated, and rich. This is a book of opportunities: linguistic, syntactic, imagistic. Every bit of detail contributes, in an inevitable way, to the whole.”
“Stonestreet’s empathies of eye, her vision and revisionary glancings, let us undergo radical shifts in scale between the ‘burnished’ and the ‘broken’…. Stonestreet’s imagination is as tender as it is tough-minded.”
“Tulips, Water, Ash risks talking about the things we have no words for. Simultaneously incisive and passionate, these poems take a chillingly fresh look at the world and ‘chew it till it bleeds.’ They offer the insights we desperately need.”
“Radiant attentiveness, rare and gorgeous as it may be, is among the least of Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet’s gifts. Her real distinction is the uncanny ability to penetrate to the heart of an image: to trace its stern trajectories, to capture and unfold its inborn logic. Vision for Stonestreet involves a rigorous will-to-submit: this is both …
“We are making birds, not birdcages.”
—Dean Young, The Art of Recklessness
As a teacher, I lead small-group workshops for poets seeking community and critique.
As an editor, I work with individual writers, helping edit and shape manuscripts and individual poems. The goal is to help each poem become what it wants to be—which might mean anything from a close focus on individual lines to a wide-ranging conversation about contexts and influences.
What my students and clients say:
“Lisa has edited my poems for the past ten years. Without exception, I have found her to be a thorough and thoughtful editor of my work. Her critique can include anything from suggestions to push the poem in a new direction to questions about form, word choice, or grammar. Often she’ll suggest other poets to read or meditations on her own process as a poet. I have come to trust Lisa’s sensibility so much that I never send anything out without having her look it over first.”
—Greg Mahrer, author of A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent
Lisa edited my most recent manuscript of poems. Her help proved to be invaluable in so many ways. First, she sorted through the keepers, the near misses and definitely nots with uncanny accuracy. Next, she attended to the minutiae of style, grammar, line breaks and formatting with deft precision. But most importantly, as I struggled to find the right form for my sprawling, prosy meditations, she calmly suggested several options and then stood back to let me discover for myself what she had already seen. She made the process a pleasure and got it right. I cannot recommend her highly enough.
—George Higgins, author of There, There
“Lisa’s editorial eye goes to the core of a poem. She’s highly intuitive, sensitive to each poem’s potential for depth and power. She’s very generous with her extensive knowledge of poetry and poetry resources. Lisa has led me to understand my manuscript in new ways, and also helped me with individual poems—seeing where they might be stuck and suggesting ways to free them. I recommend her highly.”
—Athena Kashyap, author of Crossing Black Waters
“Working with Lisa is a total pleasure. She is insightful, thorough, respectful, and clear, with a finely tuned ear for the rhythm of a poem and a great facility with all things grammatical. I was impressed with the way she worked to make each poem better in a way that was entirely in line with my intentions for that piece. In short, Lisa heard what I needed, and delivered everything I’d hoped for and then some. It is wonderful to feel that my manuscript has been read so carefully and edited so well.”
—Marcia Pelletiere, author of Miracle with Roasted Hens
“Lisa was warm and supportive but also straightforward about weaknesses. To this day I look at some of the poems in my book and remember an edit Lisa suggested. Her edits were the opposite of clipping the poem’s wings. They were trimmings that really helped those birds to fly.”
—Phyllis Meshulam, author of Land of My Father’s War
“Lisa combines the love of a reader and the passion of an artist in her poetry editing. Her breadth of knowledge and eye for detail bring a wealth of editing skill and poetic art to her feedback—an invaluable combination.”
“She holds my hand when it’s needed. She tells me why something works or doesn’t. She guides, she nudges, she listens, she informs, and she encourages me to press on. Working with Lisa gives me the sense that not only can I take off on my first solo flight, but I’ll be able to land the damned thing.”
Please contact me if you’d like to discuss working together.
[In the behavior of termites] “it is the product of work itself that provides both the stimulus and instructions for further work.”
—Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell
Lisa teaches classes and workshops at Literary Arts in Portland, Oregon, and at writing conferences and retreats. At UC Berkeley Extension, Lisa taught Modern and Contemporary Women Poets, and led the Poetry Generation Intensive workshop. She also works one-on-one with individual poets.
Upcoming & Active
Saturday April 28, 2019
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 PM
Literary Arts, Portland
This workshop will give you a chance to view your writing in the context of your own personal aesthetic(s) and obsessions. We’ll practice multiple ways of using these factors to inspire new directions, generate new work, and offer more productive and authentic feedback.
Saturday April 13, 9:00 AM to Noon
Sunday April 14 from 10 AM to 1:00 PM
Literary Arts, Portland
A workshop on using books you love to spur new paths in your own work. Bring in one or more pieces of writing that have been touchstones for you. Participants will explore what it is about that work that compels you, then you’ll use aspects of it in exercises designed to generate new writing in response. We’ll shamelessly steal voice, style, subject matter, then put it in a blender and press Purée. Students will come away with a clearer view of their own obsessions plus new drafts that help you stretch your voice and style.
The class: A small, individually focused every-other-week poetry workshop in Portland, OR for a maximum of eight intermediate to advanced students. It’s designed to give writers a chance to meet, connect, and give and get feedback in a supportive, guided environment. There will be snacks.
What I can offer you: Personalized feedback suited to each poet’s needs. Reading recommendations. Occasional in-class writing exercises. An understanding of what it’s like to make things and how writers tend to get stuck (and unstuck). A community of others committed to doing this strange and wonderful thing. An introduction to the craft aspects of contemporary poetry. A focus on critique beyond like/dislike, as we work to understand what each poem wants to become, then explore ways to help it get there.
A few more poets whose work has informed my writing and teaching: W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich, Kay Ryan, (early) Louise Glück, (early) Jorie Graham, John Berryman, Robert Hass, Gregory Orr, Anne Carson, Jane Hirshfield, Alice Fulton, Forrest Hamer, Campbell McGrath, Linda Gregerson, Albert Goldbarth, Jane Mead, Mark Doty, Dean Young, Marianne Boruch, Charles Wright, Brian Teare, Rachel Zucker, Bob Hicok…
The nuts and bolts: The workshop meets every other Monday from 7-9:30 PM in SW Portland, with breaks for major holidays. Cost is $450 for each set of eight classes. If you miss a class, you can email me a poem for critique any time during the following week.
Past Classes & Workshops
Saturday, November 10, 2018
3:30 to 5:30 PM
Literary Arts, Portland
Northwest Film Center (934 SW Salmon St, Portland, OR 97205)
$75.00 (tuition includes admission to the Portland Book Festival)
We can become separated from our writing. We may miss it, but don’t know how to return from that stuck place. In this course, we’ll explore experiences of being lost, and tips for getting found when we’ve lost our way. Our guide: nine strategies drawn from Adrienne Rich’s essay “To invent what we desire” (in What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics). Class highlights include self-hypnosis strategies, intercession from literary parents, and making Google Calendar your friend.