WHY I WRITE – by Linda Nemec Foster

Linda Nemec Foster’s essay is featured on the website, Write Across Chicago, which is sponsored by the Illinois Writing Project based at Northeastern Illinois University. A member of the Society of Midland Authors, Linda is the only non-Illinois resident featured on the website.

To read the full article, please click here!

WHY I WRITE – by Linda Nemec Foster



By Linda Nemec Foster

I write because I want to connect with others. I’m primarily a poet and I love poetry for the powerful way it uses language and the blankness around line breaks and stanzas to reflect metaphor, imagery, tone, rhythm, and pacing. Poetry is the only kind of writing where what you don’t say (think of all that white space on the page that surrounds a poem) is as important as what you do say (the language that encompasses each line). And when a poem is read out loud–connecting it to that ancient oral tradition that was the precursor to all written literature–the process is complete.

I also write flash fiction and prose poems that balance the tone between narrative and lyric voices. I like to work with this dichotomy: it’s an ambitious exercise but when the piece can achieve that balance between a narrative arc and strong lyricism, it’s nothing short of magic.

When I’m starting a new poem, I’ll write the first drafts in longhand on a yellow legal pad or a standard notebook. On average, this process of early drafting can result in five to ten rough drafts; that is, every poem I create begins in drafts of at least five to ten versions. After I determine that the piece has achieved a decent structure of form and content, I take the most recent draft and type it on the computer. The revision process continues as I see how the structure evolves as a typed piece. This is particularly essential for poetry as line breaks, stanzas, and section breaks are readily formatted on the computer screen. Currently, a lot of poets and writers prefer to compose directly on the computer but I’m “old school.” I love to feel the paper, to hold the pen, to cross out words and add lines. It’s a tactile and visceral experience for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know the computer is essential for final revisions but that initial creative spark–the first drafts–are always handwritten.

My work of being a poet, a writer, and now (after eleven published poetry collections) an author has enriched my life in ways that are inestimable. True, there is no money in poetry. But the intangible rewards are gratifying and humbling. The most amazing situation I experienced as a writer was when I received an email from a person I never met. This woman had purchased one of my poetry books–a collection of haiku and visual art–that was a quiet meditation on nature and our place in the natural world. Every day she would read excerpts from the book to her friend who was in the advanced stages of terminal cancer. The poetry gave both of them a sense of peace and serenity as one life ended and one life carried on. No award or recognition could match the significance of those words from that stranger.

Linda Nemec Foster is a poet, writer, literary presenter, and founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College. She is the author of eleven collections of poetry including The Lake Michigan Mermaid (with Anne-Marie Oomen), Talking Diamonds, Amber Necklace from Gdańsk, Listen to the Landscape, and Living in the Fire Nest.

Linda Nemec Foster featured on the Poetry Foundation’s Website

Below is an excerpt from the Poetry Foundation’s Website:

Linda Nemec Foster is the author of 11 collections of poetry, including The Lake Michigan Mermaid (Wayne State University Press, 2018), coauthored with Anne-Marie Oomen; Talking Diamonds (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2009); and Amber Necklace from Gdańsk (Louisiana State University Press, 2001). Her work has been published in anthologies, magazines, and journals, including the Georgia Review, Nimrod, Quarterly West, Witness, New American Writing, North American Review, and Verse Daily. Her poems have been translated into European languages, have inspired original musical compositions, and have been produced for the stage.

To read the full article, please click here!

Book Review of The Lake Michigan Mermaid in NewPages

Linda’s new book, The Lake Michigan Mermaid, is reviewed in NewPages which is a major online source for book reviews, publishing, and the literary world.

To read the full review, please click here!

Linda Nemec Foster Selected as a Top Michigan Author for Summer, 2018

The Lake Michigan Mermaid, co-authored by Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen, is selected as one of the top ten books by Michigan authors for Summer, 2018.

To read the full article detailing the Top Ten Books, please click here!


National Writers Series Features Linda’s New Book in its “Authors Next Door” Segment

Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen were featured in the “Authors Next Door” segment of the National Writers Series (NWS) about their book, “The Lake Michigan Mermaid“.

To read the full article, please click here!

Below is a short excerpt of the NWS’s article:

Mermaids don’t exist. It’s a dull, disheartening truth that we all probably accepted in childhood, despite Disney’s best efforts. But what if they did? Seated next to each other at a reading of Alison Swan’s Fresh Water anthology more than a decade ago, local authors Anne-Marie Oomen and Linda Nemec Foster found themselves asking this very question. Ten-odd years, countless emails, and one fateful weekend together in a motel on Lake Michigan later, their debut collaborative, The Lake Michigan Mermaid, is no longer just an exciting “what if”: as of this past March, it’s bound in hardcover.

At the surface, the book tells the story of Lyk — Lykretia, a name from Oomen’s imagination, meaning “joy” — an only child living on the shores of Lake Michigan, and the connection she develops with the mermaid who shares her beach. But the story itself isn’t the first thing we notice; in fact, we don’t really discover the storyline until we’re three or four pages in. This is because the book is structured as an expertly interwoven series of poems. According to Oomen, the call-and-response structure of the book was something the two women sought from the start: “Driving home from Saugatuck that night, I called [Foster], and said, “I think we should do something with this mermaid idea. I think there’s something there.” The first thing Linda said to me was, “I want to be the mermaid!” My poems often have a narrative impulse; [Linda’s] are very lyric. I was almost from the beginning seeking some kind of very loose storyline. So right away, there were two voices, and we would be personas, not ourselves. We agreed quickly that we’d write very small, back-and-forth pieces month to month, from time to time, and we both agreed we’d keep it a secret……”

~ (National Writers Series, 2018)


Interview with Linda and co-author Anne-Marie Oomen by Zinta Aistars on WMUK 102.1FM

Linda and co-author Anne-Marie Oomen were interviewed on the radio talk show, Between the Lines, by Zinta Aistars on WMUK  (102.1 FM), the NPR affiliate in Southwest Michigan on the campus of Western Michigan University on March 16, 2018.  The interview focused on their new book, The Lake Michigan Mermaid (WSU Press, 2018).

Click here to listen to the full interview on WMUK!

This interview was aired on May 29, 2018 at 7:50 a.m., 11:50 a.m., and 4:20 p.m.

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.

The Lake Michigan Mermaid — Michigan Bestseller for April, 2018

Linda Nemec Foster’s most recent book, The Lake Michigan Mermaid, with Anne-Marie Oomen is listed among the top five bestsellers (fiction category) in Michigan by several state media outlets.

View The Morning Sun’s Bestsellers List for April 2018.

To purchase a copy of “The Lake Michigan Mermaid”, click here!



Interview with Upnorth Media on Upfront Fridays

On Friday, April 20, 8:30 a.m., Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen appeared on Upfront Fridays at Traverse City’s Horizon Bookstore, Upnorth Media, channel 189 (public access channel).

To watch the full interview on Upnorth Media, click here!

Interview with Shelley Irwin on WGVU

Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen are interviewed on WGVU (the NPR affiliate in Grand Rapids on the campus of Grand Valley State University) on April 2 (10:15-10:30 AM) by Shelley Irwin for the Morning Show.

To listen to the full interview, please click here.