My poetry manuscript, Spool in the Maze, won the 2015 DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press chapbook contest and can be ordered here (scroll down).
“For Colleen O’Brien, a word is myriad inside, like a geode. So is a sentence, so is a painting, so is a scribbled note whose “i” might be a semicolon or long-ago failure to make a lasting self. O’Brien is fascinated with the hesitations and swerves that are part of the process of human expression, and the delicate music and syntax she generates in the act of saying constitute an original and exquisite study of how we move, imperfectly and with hope, towards closure and form.” —Nancy Eimers
“These startling poems by Colleen O’Brien zigzag intuitively from the given lyric to the more experimental, and how refreshing for a reader to be drawn across that prism rather than encamped in aesthetics, as there is a kindly laying down of arms here, so that when lyric and language are turned inside out it is in the service of a painstaking listening, and when the forms themselves fix the circumstances of the heart, there is still every breath, honed to hold.” —William Olsen
“In Colleen O’Brien’s debut collection, words are electrical fields within which worlds are in constant motion. With the wit and formal dexterity of the Elizabethan poets, O’Brien playfully sublimates Plato’s myth of the Three Fates, Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, Matisse’s Bathers by a River, Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage,” and other Western cultural markers into interrogations of inherited cultural assumptions. What’s at stake is no less than how to live in a reeling universe where science is god and “Truth is a word / in the mouth / and a spool in the maze / in the myth”—but what fun O’Brien has mapping her territory, and what pleasure I had tracking her every step.” —Lee Sharkey