Linda Nemec Foster Interview with Cynthia Canty on Michigan Public Radio

Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen are interviewed by Cynthia Canty for Michigan Public Radio’s Stateside program. They discuss the creative process involved with writing their book, The Lake Michigan Mermaid.

To listen to the recorded interview, click here to visit Stateside’s website.

This interview was broadcasted on May 21st, 2018 and aired on the following radio channels: 91.7 FM Ann Arbor/Detroit, 104.1 FM West Michigan, 91.1 FM Flint.

Michigan Public Radio is a NPR affiliate.

“Blue” by Linda Nemec Foster Published in Streetlight Magazine


It must have been her accent
that seduced and baffled my ears.
The Egyptian woman, still lost
in the desert air of Cairo,
read her poems filled with water
from the Nile and blue heaven,
blue heaven, blue heaven flying
over the lotus flowers. I heard
“heaven” but later discovered
she said “heron.” A distant cousin
to the sacred ibis, herons (even blue ones)
are commonplace–are everywhere–even
in the non-exotic marshes of northern Ohio
where another blue creation–my mother–
landed. Blue Helen, blue Helen, blue Helen.
The kids in Cleveland would tease her.
Her blue eyes swimming in the immigrant’s
version of hide and seek, lost and found,
a lexicon of strange words that trip her tongue:


                             train track

wind storm


A paradise where she flies, dusts clouds,
and polishes haloes. Washing the blue
of heaven until it shines like a word
that has yet to be invented.

Originally Published by Streetlight Magazine, click here to view article.

“Blue” by Linda Nemec Foster was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. 

NPO Showcase – Aquinas College’s Contemporary Writers Series

Season 14, Episode 3 features Linda Nemec Foster, founder of the Aquinas College Contemporary Writers Series. Linda discusses this year’s Series and the upcoming 20th anniversary celebration. To learn more, visit


Originally Published by GRCMC, click here to view article.

Linda Nemec Foster Interviewed on Michigan Public Radio

Bulgarian photography and Michigan poetry inspire an album

“Cry of Freedom” is an album by Ann Arbor musician Laszlo Slomovits, but it’s not your ordinary record.

The album is actually a collection of poems by Grand Rapids poet and writer Linda Nemec Foster that has been set to music.

Foster’s poetry that is featured on “Cry of Freedom” is from her book Ten Songs from Bulgaria. The poetry is inspired by photographs taken by Jacko Vassilev.

Linda Nemec Foster and Laszlo Slomovitz will perform excerpts from the work at 7 pm tonight at Nicola’s Bookstore in Ann Arbor.

Originally Published by Michigan Radio, Listen to the full story>

A Local First: Grand Rapids Poets’ Conference

On Monday, April 2, another first for Grand Rapids occurs when Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) hosts The Grand Rapids Poets’ Conference: A Celebration of Grand Rapids Poetry. The four-day event is set with panel discussions, seminars and learning sessions at 108 Sneden Hall during the day, and evening readings on the second floor of the GRCC library. All events are free to the public.

This will mark the first time an exclusively Grand Rapids-based identity is focused on the oldest of the arts. It features poets from GRCC, Grand Valley State University, Aquinas College, Calvin College, all previous poet laureates (Linda Nemec Foster, Patricia Clark, Rodney Torreson), and “poets published extensively beyond academe, activist poets and those who have developed quietly over decades of work.”

“This is what is unique about this conference: it is historic in the best sense, because it begins a process that later generations can build on,” says program director, GRCC professor and Grand Rapids Poet Laureate David Cope. As laureate, Cope was determined to assemble an anthology of Grand Rapids poetry (Song of the Owashtanong: Grand Rapids Poetry in the 21st Century), and then to assemble a conference of local poets. “To bring us all together, old and young, people from across the scene, to hear all these voices and begin the dialog that not only expands our awareness of what we are, but gives us connections to help each other,” Cope explains.

This isn’t the first time Cope has established a hefty poetry program; Cope has acted as program director for GRCC’s Pablo Neruda Conference and Women in the Arts Conference, in addition to helping design the 1990 Ecology and Poetics Conference and the Beats and Rebel Angels Conference at Naropa University. The Grand Rapids Poets’ Conference is based upon the National Poetry Festivals at GVSU in the ‘70s, Naropa University conferences, and Allen Ginsberg’s Brooklyn college reading series among others.

The conference begins on Monday, April 2, with an opening speech addressing poetry in our time, followed by a panel on poetic community with Patricia Clark, Barbara Saunier, Kim Wyngarden and G. F. Korreck. The conference concludes on Thursday, April 5, with an open mic reading in the morning, a performance by Linda Nemec Foster with musical accompaniment, a session on working with publishers and readings featuring L. S. Klatt and Miriam Pederson.

Other panels and sessions throughout the week include spotlights on local publishing with Alban Fisher of TRNSFR literary magazine and Presa Press’ Eric Greinke, utilizing professional websites and an exploration of former laureate Rodney Torreson’s Thru the 3rd Eye. A reading series panel “as seen through two major college series, two local reading series and our local radio series” includes members of Smokin’ Spoken Word, Literary Life Bookstore and WYCE Electric Poetry. “Teaching Poetry: Pedagogy and Diversity” explores the methodology and issues in teaching poetry, student growth and how diversity affects tradition.

“The daily panels will be useful as informational sessions and to see the ways in which the poets work together, but the highlights are always to be found in the evening readings,” explains Cope. Azizi Jasper, David Landrum and Mursalata Muhammad are among several of the poets featured during the evening readings. However, there are several open mic opportunities throughout the week for all poets to read their works publicly.

Cope also mentions “younger poets can make connections with those who have ‘been there,’ and this can be useful for finding their way in their own careers.” Certainly true, as Cope made such a connection with Allen Ginsberg at a similar conference; Ginsberg would later help propel him into the national poetry community.

The conference would not be possible without the support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, in-kind funding from GRCC and guidance provided by Dr. Caroline Older and Angela de Luca Placencia from the Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids. A wide variety of individuals also helped define the conference’s aim, ranging from Cope’s laureate committee and many of the featured poets.

“My idea was to lay a foundation — the conference and the anthology — that would make it possible to develop a canon of River City poems, Owashtanong poems, poems that start here and connect us with the world,” says Cope. “Others will have to pick up and make the second part happen in years to come.”

For a comprehensive guide to the conference, including an extended schedule, poet bios, parking information and other useful links, click here.

Originally Published by Rapid Growth, click here to view article.

Polish-American Writers Reading at the Polish Museum of America

On February 12, 2009, The Polish Museum of America hosted a reading by five Polish American writers: Anthony Bukoski, Linda Nemec Foster, John Minczeski, Leslie Pietrzyk, and me.

The event was a powerful emotional experience for all of us. Speaking for myself, I know that it’s not often that I have the opportunity to read to an audience of people who share my Polish heritage, and when I do such readings, I always feel a strong connection that is hard to explain. It’s a connection that goes beyond words (whether Polish or English), beyond present circumstances, and beyond borders.

Shortly after the reading, Maria Ciesla, the President of The Polish Museum of America, sent me a note that conveys what, I believe, both the readers and the audience felt that night:

Thank you so much for your successful efforts, and please convey my sincere thanks to Linda, Leslie, John, and Anthony. Guests present are still commenting to me about the uniqueness and artistic fullness of the evening. This was a new and magical event for the PMA, and I can assure you it will not be the last. Despite my being transfixed, I glanced around the Hall and observed the same.

To me personally, your writings parallel so much of my own experience, even though our family did not remain in Chicago’s Polonia. Driving home, I blessed and thanked my parents even more than in the past!


To find out more about the readers who read at the Polish Museum, please double click on their names:

Anthony Bukoski has published five story collections, four with Southern Methodist University Press, including North of the Port and Time Between Trains. Holy Cow! Press recently reissued his first book, Twelve Below Zero, in a new and expanded edition. A Christopher Isherwood Foundation fellowship winner, Bukoski teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Linda Nemec Foster is the author of eight collections of poetry including Amber Necklace from Gdansk (LSU Press), Listen to the Landscape (Eerdmans Publishing), Ten Songs from Bulgaria (Cervena Barva Press). She has received honors from the Academy of American Poets, the National Writer’s Voice, and the Polish American Historical Association. She is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College and currently is a member of the Series’ programming committee.

John Guzlowski writes poems about his family’s experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. His most recent books are Lightning and Ashes and the Pulitzer-nominated Third Winter of War: Buchenwald. His unpublished novel about German soldiers on the Eastern Front has recently been short-listed for the Bakeless Literary Award.

John Minczeski’s books of poetry include Letter to Serafin (Akron University Press), November (Finishing Line Press), Circle Routes (Akron University Press), Gravity (Texas Tech). He’s the winner of the Akron Poetry Prize, a Bush Fellowship, and an NEA fellowship among other prizes. He freelances as a poet in the schools and does occasional adjunct work.

Leslie Pietrzyk is the author of two novels: Pears on a Willow Tree (Avon Books) and A Year and a Day (William Morrow). She teaches at Johns Hopkins and has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and the Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. She is currently writing a novel about Polish immigrants in Chicago.


Originally Published by Writing Polish Diaspora, click here to view article.

Michigan Writers Series First Interview in 1999


Interview with Jane Arnold
Program Introduction by Diane Wakoski

Selected Readings:

History of the Toenails
History of the Hand
Heat Lightning
Movie Poems: “Absurdity of the Sweet Life,” “At 69,” “My Mother Sees Her First Foreign Film
Ars Poetica
The Therapeutist: After Magritte
The Rain in Bielsko,” and “Mazovian Willows: Chopin’s Nocturn, Opus 9
The Awkward Young Girl Approaching You
In My Grandmother’s House
After the War: Purple Flowers Spilling from the Windows,” and “Mengele’s Butterflies

Linda Nemec Foster’s poetry has been translated, produced for the stage, and exhibited in art galleries in Michigan and New York. Her work has been widely published in national literary journals, including The Georgia ReviewMid-America ReviewQuarterly WestIndiana ReviewNimrod, and River Styx, and in major anthologies from Penguin, Virago, Macmillan and other publishers. Foster’s full-length collection of poetry, Living in the Fire Nest, was a finalist for the Bluestem Poetry Award and the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize.

Foster received her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College in Vermont, and currently lives in Grand Rapids. She served as director of the literature program for the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and teaches poetry workshops for young people through Creative Writers in Schools, a project of ArtServe Michigan.

Originally Published by Michigan State University Libraries, click here to view article.