Lisa Rosenberg

Lisa Rosenberg

Lisa Rosenberg’s debut poetry collection, A Different Physics, has been awarded the Red Mountain Poetry Prize, and is forthcoming in 2018. Rosenberg is the second Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, California. She holds degrees in Physics and Creative Writing, and received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry from Stanford University. She worked for many years in engineering, founded a marketing consulting practice, and flew as a private pilot. Her poems appear in The Threepenny Review, Poetry, Witness, Poetry Daily, Southwest Review, The POETRY Anthology: 1912-2002, and elsewhere. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Page

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Facebook Group

To the Makers


I want to tell them, all of them, the living

and the dead. Not about gratitude. I want

them to know. To tell them that it happens,

years or ages after their labors. It happens

with their work in my hand, on a bowed page,

at or near the end of a phrase. A fissure

opens onto the deep lake of their making,

its slate skin and forested rim. Tools strewn

on the silty bottom: wavering shapes, soft

with life along grooves and shanks. Through this

water, through murk and sun-shaft and clear shoals

the pressure building or falling off, they dove

and rose, time and again. Hauling, gleaning,

and leaving the lake, to make a portal from words.


Left Coast Triptych



In a dusk of lavenders,

the crescent

of an incomplete overpass

on three dark pillars

of concrete.

The space between

admits the sintered lights

of Los Angeles,

cataclysmic downtown.

This could become

our Stonehenge,

a future ruin

as mute or fertile

as the pieces of Rome.

Gigantic ornament,

brocade of belts,

the interweaving



No ramparts.

Just the transverse ranges

and coastal cliffs.

No stone chateaux

to predate remnants

of clay presidios.

What possible

likeness in Venice?

Abandoned canals

fraught with light

below the streets’

white noise.

Lone obelisk

of a graffiti’d lamppost.

And long monuments

in rock-bed, shifting

like the fictions

that claim us.


We rest in the shade

of imported flora.

The sky is a speechless,

sun-struck god

and all our languages

to praise it are foreign.

The angels’ city

overflows into valleys

named for saints.

A renaissance novel

promised griffins

and gold: an island

to the right hand

of the Indies,

where a Queen Califía

sang to her tribes

before horses,

highways or mines.