Lisa Rosenberg


Trained as a scientist and poet, Lisa Rosenberg has a keen interest in the commonality between arts and sciences, and in accessibly framing that territory for exploration in many contexts and settings.
Lisa holds degrees in physics and creative writing. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, she worked for many years in engineering, primarily in the space program. She also founded a marketing consulting practice, and was active in aviation as a private pilot.
Lisa served as the 2017-2018 Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, California, and is the author of A Different Physics, winner of the 2017 Red Mountain Poetry Prize. Her publication history spans literature and technology, including journals, anthologies, trade features, and research.

A Different Physics

From thistles and fossils, to the inner workings of spacecraft, the poems in A DIFFERENT PHYSICS move with lyric power through natural and figurative landscapes, to worlds of cultural and intellectual models. A slide rule carries us from grief back to innocence. A silicon wafer for microchips reflects sexual politics and art history. In the central sequence, “Flight,” we travel a cloaked realm of the military-industrial complex, to its unsettled territory of personal and national mythologies. Places, objects, and ideas launch explorations into our modes of industry and inquiry, and the very things—and lives—we have built. With… musicality and formal breadth, these poems of curiosity, cynicism, reverence, and transformation invite us to consider the forces that shape our thoughts and our lives.

“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