Olja doesn’t write for the critics. After you read the collection’s first section, in which the speaker spends a month in Istanbul, you will quickly understand why she writes. By observing the colors, scents and sounds, the crowds in this foreign land, the chairs, windows and rooms, inside which she observes herself, observes the process of observation, Olja follows the primal need for writing, gains an understanding, and captures that which is elusive. In her poem “Listanbon,” which is a city that sometimes appears in Olja’s dreams, a fusion of Lisbon and Istanbul that flickers between reality and dream, between life and death, Olja captures the chorus of the street singer under the window: “Dying before death isn’t the hardest thing, it’s wanting to live after that, that’s the hardest, wanting to live after that.” Olja’s poems invoke a conjured city you won’t find in travel books. You might think that as such, this city might mean little to you, except these poems carry impressive descriptions of the physical world, and they brilliantly capture the spirit of a place.