She is loud, loves to drink and smoke, and she’s living in sin with a man from Gdansk. A man who should know better, according to his mother, the quiet woman with swollen legs. But what can she do? She’s no match for the Irish mouth who speaks broken Polish—perfectly. This mouth confronts me about my life and realizes I have a husband...who’s a doctor. “Well, aren’t you the lucky one?“ and “Does he give free medical advice...for this?” At that exact moment, when the band just finishes playing an oberek, the Irish guest lifts up her dress to expose a long scar from her last C-section. “See this?” She shows my husband, shocked into silence. “What can you do about this?” She whispers as she fingers the deep white line—a roadmap from Galway to Krakow—and describes every step. From yellow gorse to Mazovian willows; green cliffs to Baltic shore. From her dead mother to her dead son.
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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