Dream Apartment

Copper Canyon. Sept. 2023. 112p. ISBN 9781556596742. pap. $17. POETRY
Despite the title, the poems in Pushcart Prize and Hayden Carruth Award winner Olstein’s (Pain Studies) latest collection are not dreamlike so much as they resemble the process of dreaming. They observe the way one part of a dream segues to another and the way a dream applies to and differs from daily life. These mostly free-verse poems are set in the real but surreptitiously become surreal. “Fort Night,” one of the best poems here, is about a dreamed place where one encounters nightmares that slide into one another: “Is this/ a dream of potential/ unmet, of possibility/undone?” the poet asks as each new line shifts the poem’s meaning. These are poems of enjambment, internal rhyme, and repetition, which revel in figures of sound and have a playful and ironic tone. In an interview, Olstein described “Horse,” in which she becomes a horse, as the “metaphorical thinking” that occurred when she realized that she was being used: “I wanted the lines to tumble down the page like a Jacob’s ladder one hinged to the next, simultaneously orienting and disorienting….”
VERDICT At their best, these poems work their magic through just such a sequential movement.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing