top of page



Rena Rosenwasser


    2011, 72 pages

    ISBN 978-0932716-75-0



    Rena Rosenwasser's Elevators is a tours de force of story fragments whose lush layering of time, space, and consciousness provides a counterweight to the void that lies just beneath its smooth and textured surfaces. The poems are visually rich as the poet's eye leaps to land deftly on sights and sites that traverse the white space of the page and down. These experimental poems seduce us with their verbal architectures as the book transports the reader visually and graphically across the globe, through time to the present, from Perugia to Egypt to Manhattan, where historical details mesh with real time haptic experiences of cathedral architecture, Egyptian monuments, and urban corridors that ignite the "wow" effect of the poet's New York City childhood. Sparked by eros tempered by thought, the poet's experience of travel comes to us through her reading of Walt Whitman and Rem Koolhaas, her memories, real and imagined, and her walking, while taking care not to displace, the dust of the ancient world.



    Rena Rosenwasser co-founded Kelsey Street Press in 1974. Between 1987 and 2006 she initiated and produced a series of collaborations between poets and artists that further established Kelsey Street Press as the premiere and longest lived independent publisher of literature for women. She continues to work for the Press as press member and mentor. Rosenwasser’s poetry publications include Elevators (Kelsey Street Press, 2011); Taking Flight (Mayacamas Press, 1993); Unplace.Place (Leave Books, 1992); and three collaborations with artist Kate Delos: Isle (Kelsey Street Press, 1992); Aviary (Limestone Press, 1988); and Simulacra (Kelsey Street Press, 1986). Her first volume of poetry, Desert Flats, was published by Kelsey Street Press in 1979. Rosenwasser was born in New York City where she cultivated her passion for literature and the visual arts. After graduating Sarah Lawrence College in 1971, she moved to California to pursue graduate studies at Mills College where she earned her MA in literature in 1976. Currently she serves on the board of Small Press Distribution. Together with her spouse, Penny Cooper, they support and collect the work of women artists.


    This passionate psalm poem is a labyrinth inside a travelogue inside a dream.

     —Jane Miller



    As the elevator moves skyward, it reveals a widening horizon: a review of Rena Rosenwasser's 'Elevators' by Julie Joosten in Jacket2


bottom of page