He doesn’t own a car. Next to the small church, attached to the large spartan rectory, across the road from a statue of a little-known saint from Bohemia—the garage sits
empty. John Nepomucene, the patron saint of the confessional, chose to be drowned in a river rather than reveal to a jealous king his innocent wife’s confession. John N., whose silent tongue was miraculously preserved several centuries after his death. Our rural priest is no saint, but he’s married to a vow of poverty: why have a car to distract him? As illogical as television or a camera phone. So he walks, takes the train, rides his bicycle. “The old black crow on two wheels,” the village boys laugh behind his back. When the rich relative from America comes to visit, the priest offers him a quiet room with a view of the overgrown orchard. And the empty garage for his rented Peugeot. The garage smells of rain, old paint, turpentine: smells that remind the American of his grandfather’s garage in Chicago. The immigrant that never learned how to drive.
is the author of 12 poetry collections, 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.
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.
In 2018 and 2019, Ms. Foster won an Editor’s Choice Award 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.
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