cover image The Blue Divide

The Blue Divide

Linda Nemec Foster. New Issues, $16 trade paper (74p) ISBN 978-1-936970-72-8

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. Blue sky, blue damask, and “the blue divide” of ocean that separates North America from Europe refract in a glimpse of the poet’s own mother, “Her blue eyes swimming in the immigrant’s/ version of hide and seek,” as the woman washes “the blue/ of heaven until it shines like a word/ that has yet to be invented.” In other entries, works by Italian masters and contemporary artists come alive through vivid descriptions of color and texture, as does “a faceless socialist/ painting Sobieski’s palace frescoes/ by number.” For Foster, words themselves are a tangible medium, variously inflected, misheard, and treasured: “Language of bark, leaves, stones, mud;/ of fog sleeping in the marshes and sun caught/ in tangled branches. Language of amber/ sinking into its inclusions and rain falling/ from its clouds.” Rich with closely observed detail, narrative depth, and poignant historical reflections, this is a generous and beautiful collection. (Apr.)