cover image Bone Country

Bone Country

Linda Nemec Foster. Cornerstone, $21.95 trade paper (110p) ISBN 979-8-9869663-1-1

The outward-facing 13th collection from Foster (The Blue Divide) is her first devoted to prose poems, constructed windows in form and content that the poet uses to peek into the lives of people encountered abroad. The pieces move from Warsaw to Vienna and from Paris to Seville, making observations from the perspective of someone passing through: “The train arrives, the train departs. The city remains. Only the faces have changed.” The speaker imagines the circumstances of those she sees: a perfume saleslady who “sits in her shop waiting for you and your exposed wrist, the quiet hollow of your neck,” two rude Russian women at a restaurant in Lucerne, and the end of a day in the life of a judge in central Poland: “A cold dinner of blood sausage, cabbage, and parsley potatoes with a distracted wife. Her face reflected like cut crystal in his glass of chilled vodka.” The most intriguing poems are those—like “At the Zeitgeist Hotel”—that do not attempt to reduce a person to a brief, assumed poetic backstory, but reflect on the strangeness of travel. These pre-pandemic explorations will resonate with readers who enjoy travelogues. (Mar.)