The Greenhouse

“The poems of The Greenhouse are profound, fundamental works, born of a deep interiority and making their intricate ways, phrase by phrase, toward a design both organic and artful.”

—David Baker

The Greenhouse, Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet’s second collection of poetry, was awarded the 2014 Frost Place Chapbook Prize and published by Bull City Press. The book details the dual desires of new motherhood—the struggle to make peace with both connection and separation, with being a self irrevocably tied to another self. In lines both fluid and broken, delicate and irreverent, these lyrics recount with boundless love the difficulty of finding oneself again as a parent, and the elemental joy of being transformed by the very life that tethers you.

Praise for The Greenhouse:

“Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet’s collection, The Greenhouse, asserted itself from the first reading for its interplay of restlessness and patience, its mapping of an interiority both shared and dearly personal, and for its lyric and maternal primacy. Primacy is the circumstance, yet doubleness is the story of The Greenhouse, a double birth. The triggering narrative of these fabulous poems traces the coming-into-life first months of Stonestreet’s infant son and the elemental onset of “memory without language . . . / no name, no category. Milk. // The present nudging at the shore.” But an ever more engaging, intense tale follows a second birth: the coming-back-to-words of Stonestreet herself, at once “tethered to the tug on the other end” while also struggling to remember and reclaim—even reinvent—her autonomous self: “a good test-taker. Conversationalist. / Raised to please. Born to run.” At first tentative, hesitant, even self-doubting (“almost guaranteed you will find / it boring / (domestic) (female) (too much) (too little, too small)”), the voice tutors itself in how to return to the social world where she was once so proficient and adept. It’s the very nature and identity of the self that has changed in the process of mothering—a process so primal and singular, yet so equally mundane (“Millions / of babies, of mothers, millions more jars // flowing from the conveyor belt”). 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.” The poems of The Greenhouse are profound, fundamental works, born of a deep interiority and making their intricate ways, phrase by phrase, toward a design both organic and artful.”

—David Baker