Lisa Rosenberg

Lisa Rosenberg (Poetry) | Menlo Park, CA

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Lisa Rosenberg holds degrees in physics and creative writing, and has served as the 2017-2018 Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, California. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, she worked for many years in engineering, founded a marketing consulting practice, and flew as a private pilot. Her poems have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Poetry, Witness, Southwest Review, The POETRY Anthology: 1912-2002, and elsewhere. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.


A Different Physics (Red Mountain Press, 2018). Red Mountain Poetry Prize. Poetry.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

In A Different Physics Lisa Rosenberg achieves attention as an action of mind and a spiritual attainment. These poems give the reader alert, informed attention to the natural world of plants and creatures—and also to the demanding world of particles, “clean rooms” and precision engineering. Moreover, A Different Physics unifies those realms, with an informed vision that is social as well as scientific, personal as well as historical.
—Robert Pinsky

These compelling poems—sometimes dark, sometimes bright, but always elegantly crafted—will capture whoever comes across them. The lyric reach here engages everything from the abstract power of satellites and Greek letters all the way to powerfully observed details of landscape and feeling. These are ambitious poems: ready to unfold their world, ready to inhabit the reader’s memory.
—Eavan Boland

Trained as a scientist and poet, Lisa Rosenberg brings both disciplines together in ways that are quietly terrifying. She writes from the lab and the mysteries of flight. In landscape, as beautifully rendered as in any modern writer, she sees the potential for destruction familiar to us in the daily news: “great plumed pockets of fog like white flame/rise from ravines that channel fire or rain.” A Different Physics is a great book, perhaps an antidote for the fire and fury of our time.
—Kenneth Fields

Lisa Rosenberg’s poems have their own physics, a science of stillness and movement, stored energies, and the gravity of experiences registered long before they are spoken aloud. In these poems’ rich and economical language, the artistic, the scientific, and the human imbricate: Matisse’s Blue Nude II is etched onto a silicon wafer. A child flings her limbs wide like Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man. And a woman, like Icarus, follows her father into flight and beyond into a world of satellites and secrets. A Different Physics subtly but memorably alters the way we read the world around us.
—Nan Cohen

With sensitivity, grace, and artistic deftness the poems in Lisa Rosenberg’s A Different Physics ache with the understanding that our modes of knowing the world—theoretical, mathematical, lingual—open as much distance as insight, moving us further away from what we seek to touch. And yet the wisdom of these poems keeps reaching, offering the realization that sometimes we seek these distances, these handles, to mitigate the ways the wonders of the world burn us. Wandering through the corridors and paths of these poems, we learn how to make a present out of the remnants of torn up pasts, the pieces carefully gathered and re-sewn; we discover how the freedom of flight is encumbered by the constraints of secrecy, familial obligations, and fears of failing. Rosenberg’s poems meet at the crux of so many of our contemporary concerns: How do we maintain wonder for the elemental when so intent on molding it for our purposes? How do we keep faith in ourselves in the face of our own failures? By uncovering a haunting sense of fragility and impermanence in something as steadfastly stony as the fossil record, Rosenberg both records and celebrates the ways we know and open frames that have the potential to become joyous “through every season, and in every light.”
—Irena Praitis

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