In this full-length poetry collection, the girls of Rosa’s Einstein embark on a quest to discover what is real and what is possible in the realms of imagination, spurred on by scientific curiosity and emotional resilience. Following a structural narrative arc inspired by the archetypal hero’s journey, sisters Rosa and Nieve descend into the desert borderlands of New Mexico to find resolution and healing through a bold and fearless examination of the past, meeting ghostly helpers and hinderers along the way. These metaphorical spirits take the shape of circus performers, scientists, and Lieserl, the lost daughter Albert Einstein gave away.
Poet Jennifer Givhan reimagines the life of Lieserl, weaving her search for her scientist father with Rosa and Nieve’s own search for theirs. Using details both from Einstein’s known life and from quantum physics, Givhan imagines Lieserl in a circus-like landscape of childhood trauma and survival, guided by Rosa and Nieve.
“Rosa’s Einstein is lush, lurid with color, ‘flowerfisted,’ feminist, and bomb-blast bright. ‘[B]raiding history with myth / like ribbons through plaits,’ Jennifer Givhan turns her keen eyes to time—the science and magic of it—and invents something wholly (and holy) original. This book is seared into my brain.”—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones
“Jennifer Givhan’s voice is desperately needed, at this moment more than ever, and in Rosa’s Einstein she ambitiously tackles physics, fairy tales, immigration, nuclear bombs, and time travel in one vivid and marvelous collection.”—Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of Field Guide to the End of the World
“Highly inventive, super obsessive, and beautifully written, this book of poems is a sleek animal you will find yourself panting behind, chasing Jennifer Givhan as she reclaims history, teaches Albert Einstein to dance cumbia, and makes a ghost sister, Nieve, from the fallout of the Trinity explosion.”—Carrie Fountain, author of Burn Lake