Lisa Rosenberg

Lisa Rosenberg

Poet and recovering engineer Lisa Rosenberg is the author of A Different Physics, winner of the Red Mountain Poetry Prize. The recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, MOSAIC America Fellowship, and Djerassi Residency, she served as Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, California, and is a frequent speaker on the confluence of arts and sciences. Her work appears in journals and anthologies including POETRY, The Threepenny Review, Southwest Review, Ruminate, The London Reader, The Curator, and California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology.

Poem on Belonging


I was born an eldest son.
Before I could read
my apprenticeship began

in crafting, by machine
and by hand, the tools
of flight. Engines tended,

tuned like bells across
my father’s workshop.
When I was ten we cut

the first long ribs
for his first real airplane.
By its completion I had

breasts and soft hips.
The fuselage wore fine spruce,
the wings fleshed out

over rods and spars
and they weighed on me.
I helped to rig them,

to stitch and smooth
a skin of faultless silk
as all around us

notes of solder and epoxy,
of lanolin and gasoline
infused our hair, our clothes,

and settled on the spines
of metal parts in bins.
I chose to follow him.

Flying the middle course.
Setting out. And fearing—
not the frailty of mechanisms,

but an old fear
of failing. Of everything
except the spectacle of Earth

above my head, and sky
below, inverted by
my own hand at the yoke.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Rosenberg. This poem originally appeared in A Different Physics (Red Mountain Press). Used with permission of the author.

Find Lisa’s books in the library!

A Different Physics (2018)

Poet Laureate Projects

Appointed by the County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors, Lisa Rosenberg served as Poet Laureate of San Mateo County from January 2017 through December 2018. Projects include:

Spoken Art (2017-2018), a county-wide ekphrastic challenge that showcased local artwork in several media which received hundreds of original poems from writers of all ages.


“A quick stop in any coastside or bayside gallery gives us a hint of the amazing array of artists we have in San Mateo County. It struck me that an ekphrastic project would be a great way to include visual artists in my charter of increasing opportunities for county residents to create and share poetry.”

Lisa Rosenberg

First Tuesday Poets Night, a monthly community poetry event, normally held at Café Zoë in Menlo Park, currently meeting online.