Linda Nemec Foster Interview – An Oral History of Poetry in Grand Rapids

Linda Nemec Foster was interviewed for a major project: the Oral History of Poetry in Grand Rapids. This is Linda’s first in-depth interview about her 40+ year career as a poet, writer, presenter, teacher, and literary advocate. Linda talks about her history, her family, her travels and how they all inspire the creative process.

Described as an important discussion about the life journey of Grand Rapids’ inaugural Poet Laureate, the video of the complete interview is found below:

Bone Country Named “One of the Most Read Book Reviews in 2023”

In early 2023, poet Michael Collins reviewed Linda’s new book, Bone Country, for the online literary journal, North of Oxford. By the end of the year, the review had become one of the most read book reviews on the journal’s website for 2023.

Click on the button below to read the original review:

Linda Nemec Foster’s The Blue Divide Reviewed by Publisher Weekly

Linda Nemec Foster’s poetry book, The Blue Divide, has been reviewed by Publisher Weekly.

To read the full review, please click here.

Below is a short excerpt from the Publisher Weekly article:

“The poems in the accomplished 12th book from Foster (Amber Necklace from Gdansk) cohere in their lyric commitment to “that idea of blue. The expanse of the landscape that can’t/ be contained in a single image.” These poems range widely in their settings, from Dresden to Detroit, Krakow to Hawaii.”

To read the rest of the article, please click here.

The Lake Michigan Mermaid is Selected by the Library of Michigan as a Michigan Notable Book for 2019

This annual award honors 20 acclaimed books from over 300 titles submitted. The Lake Michigan Mermaid is among those celebrated.

To view the full list, click here to visit the Detroit Free Press website.

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. 

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.

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.