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

 

ON WRITING

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.

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!

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!

 

 

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>

Grand Rapids Public Library Archival Collections

The library has over 450 archival collections documenting the people and organizations of the Greater Grand Rapids area. Listed below are finding aids for each collection, containing an inventory of its contents and information about the person or organization that produced the collection. Our archival collections are constantly expanding as we receive new acquisitions and donations.

Finding aid for the poetry of Linda Nemec Foster collection
Collection 355
Finding aid prepared by R. Mayne

View Linda’s Collection – 355 (PDF)

 

 

Originally Published by Grand Rapids Public Library, click here to view original PDF.

View all Archival Collections

Poet Linda Nemec Foster To Appear On National Radio Program

KANSAS CITY – Mo.  Grand Rapids, Michigan, poet Linda Nemec Foster will appear on the nationwide broadcast of the public radio literary program New Letters on the Air.  Foster, the first Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan, talks about her books of poetry, including her most recent, Amber Necklace from Gdansk. The program will be available on the public radio satellite on April 27, 2005, and can also be heard on the program’s website www.newletters.org. May 4-17.

Foster discusses one of her earliest books, A History of the Body, that details her thoughts and emotions during her first pregnancy.  Foster also talks about her friendship with German-American writer and mentor, Lisel Mueller, and how she contributed to Foster’s getting in touch with her Polish heritage and the lives of her ancestors under Nazi rule.

“It took me until my middle age to really understand the richness of that heritage and culture, and wanting to know more about it,” says Foster.  “That’s what led me to Poland for the first time in 1996, and I was just so amazed with what I saw, the people I met, the family that I never knew I had.  Amber Necklace from Gdansk really is a by-product of that first trip.”

Linda Nemec Foster holds a B.A. in social science from Aquinas College, Michigan and an M.F.A. from Goddard College, Vermont in 1979. She received the Pushcart Prize for poetry in 1984, a National Writers’ Voice Project Fellowship in 1999 and was named Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2003. She lives in Grand Rapids Michigan where she has been working as the coordinator of the Contemporary Writer’s Series at Aquinas College since 1997.

Available to over 400 public radio stations nationwide, New Letters on the Air is distributed weekly via the Public Radio Satellite System, and also is streamed in RealAudio format on our website, http://www.newletters.org. New Letters on the Air is public radio’s longest-running literary program, and is a production of New Letters, a magazine of new writing, published at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The program is funded in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

New Letters on the Air is pleased to offer a catalog of archive programs available on audiocassette or CD. Call Angela Elam or Dennis Conrow at (816) 235-1159, or write to 5101 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110, or email [email protected] to place orders, or to comment on the program. People with speech or hearing impairments may call Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2466 (voice). Also visit www.newletters.org for more information or to order past programs.

Michigan Writers Series First Interview in 1999

Audio:

Interview with Jane Arnold
Program Introduction by Diane Wakoski

Selected Readings:

Postcard
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.