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Explorations of Pain

Guest Post by Kayla Berryman.

In Pain Studies, published in 2020 by Bellevue Literary Press, Lisa Olstein explores her relationship between pain and chronic migraines with the simple statement that “all pain is simple. And all pain is complex. You’re in it and you want to get out.”

From there Olstein takes readers through the explorations and complexities of pain by connecting pain to language, medical dramas, translations, and surprisingly, Joan of Arc. Readers will see echoes and references of Eula Biss’s lyric essay “The Pain Scale,” as well as references to the works of the poet and translator Anne Carson, among other poets. Olstein asks readers to consider migraine as “a particular version of the present. What happens when its present becomes yours for extended periods of time, for a significant portion of your life?”

Pain Studies by Lisa Olstein. Bellevue Literary Press, March 2020.

Reviewer bio: Kayla Berryman is a graduate student at Utah State University.

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