The Greenhouse by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet


by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet

ISBN: 978-1-4243-1802-5
Softcover, 33 pages.

Winner of the 2014 Frost Place Chapbook Competition
selected by David Baker


In The Greenhouse, Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet 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.


“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, Judge of the 2014 Frost Place Chapbook Competition

“These poems make a basic fact palpable – when a child is born, a mother is born. Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet discovers her child and changed life in front of us. I love the honesty with which she sorts out her new selves, the one expanded by the existence of her son and the one trying to come back to its own borders and language. As if responding to a line from one of her poems – ‘plot moving/inexorably forward, oh my darlings if we could only lie down and rest’ – she investigates the joys and complexities of this evolution, this meld and pull, with verve and a calming intelligence. This is a wonderful book.”
– Bob Hicok

“The Greenhouse is as alive as the title promises.  These are strange, thriving poems, full of surprises, written in a voice that’s entirely unique but seems in its own way ancient, too.  What is said in this work is as potent as what is left unsaid, and the patterns that are broken thrill in their brokenness, but then remake themselves.  Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet’s poems are wildly thoughtful, pensively wild.”
– Laura Kasischke

Reviews and Interviews

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.

Additional information

Weight .3 lbs
Dimensions 7.0 × .25 × 8.5 in


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