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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 15: Sept. 2022
Prose Poem: 224 words
By Linda Nemec Foster

Hel as a Destination


Not the fire and brimstone located in some frenzied minister’s Sunday sermon, but here: on this skinny sliver of a peninsula northwest of Gdańsk. It juts out into the Baltic Sea as if it was sleepwalking one night and forgot what it was. Land or an afterthought of ocean. Here is where the first shots of WWII were fired: the small garrison of Polish troops held off the German Nazi invaders until they didn’t. The rest really is history. In the new century, war is finally over—for the time being—and Hel settles into its second life as a tourist hot spot. Hiking trails, restaurants, numerous jewelers selling amber. At the water’s edge, you can see a fake pirate ship, The Baltic Roger, owned by an entrepreneur from Stockholm. His employee, a man on the dock dressed as a pirate, urges the tourists to sign up for a dinner cruise complete with seven courses, champagne, wenches to serve the meal, and a talking parrot. True history buffs would be scandalized until they looked closely at the pirate. His scars are real; his missing right arm in the empty sleeve pinned over his heart is not computer generated. Try to imagine the color of his eyes: blue of sky, green of sea, brown of earth? Or all of the above?



—From the author’s forthcoming book Bone Country, to be released in March 2023 by Cornerstone Press (University of Wisconsin).

Linda Nemec Foster
Issue 15, September 2022

is the author of 12 published collections of poetry, including Amber Necklace from Gdansk (a finalist for the Ohio Book Award in Poetry; Louisiana State University Press, 2001), The Lake Michigan Mermaid with Anne-Marie Oomen (2019 Michigan Notable Book; Wayne State University Press, 2018), The Elusive Heroine: My Daughter Lost in Magritte (Cervena Barva Press, 2018), Talking Diamonds (New Issues Press, 2009), and Listen to the Landscape (Eerdmans Publishing, 2006). Her most recent poetry book, The Blue Divide, was published in 2021 by New Issues Press. And her next collection, Bone Country, is forthcoming in 2023.

Ms. Foster’s work has appeared in more than 350 magazines and journals such as The Georgia Review, New American Writing, Nimrod, North American Review, Quarterly West, Paterson Literary Review, Witness, and Verse Daily. Her poems have also been published in anthologies in the U.S. and Great Britain, and translated in Europe. Collaborations with visual artists, musicians, and composers have brought her poetry to new venues and audiences. It has been exhibited in museums and galleries, set to music, produced for the stage, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Ms. Foster has won several Editor’s Choice Awards in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest sponsored by The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College and Paterson Literary Review. She has been honored with awards from the Arts Foundation of Michigan, ArtServe Michigan, the National Writer’s Voice, and the Academy of American Poets. She is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College, and was the first Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan (serving from 2003-2005). In 2015, she was honored by the Dyer-Ives Foundation for her poetry and advocacy of the literary arts in Michigan. In the fall of 2019, she was a guest lecturer in contemporary American poetry and literature at the University of Bielsko-Biala in Poland. In the summer of 2022, Ms. Foster was awarded second place in the Fish Flash Fiction Prize, with publication of her story “On the Other Side of the World” in the Fish Anthology 2022. This international honor also included an invitation to read at the West Cork Literary Festival in Ireland.

Author’s website: www.lindanemecfoster.com

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Featured Guest: Linda Nemec Foster interviewed by Tim Green for Rattlecast 157 (29 August 2022)

Personal Diary: Same Day, Same Month, Different Year, microfiction by Ms. Foster in Coal Hill Review (Issue 29, Spring 2022)

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