Three by Five welcomes Poet Rebecca Foust. This installment focuses on writer beginnings.
VAH: Welcome Rebecca Foust to Three by Five! The first question is always – why do you write?
RF: I am impelled to by a pressure from within.
VAH: Why writing and what led you to identify as a writer?
RF: I’ve always been a writer but did not know it till the year I turned 50 and published my first poem and book.
VAH: That certainly gives the many older, emerging writers hope. Any influences with your development as a writer?
RF: So many—women writers like Sharon Olds, Molly Peacock Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, Louise Gluck, and Gwendolyn were all important because in college we studied only Dead White Men and I needed role models to convince me that I could write, too. James Cummins’s book of hilarious and smart linked sestinas based on the Perry Mason TV series was a big source of inspiration for Paradise Drive.
VAH: I think that question is one of my favorites because it so often gives some back story to what the author is doing. For any difficult profession – seeing someone that looks like you that is successful makes such a huge contribution towards successful individual effort. Role models give hope.
What do you remember about your first story or poem?
RF: Don’t recall my first poem but “Mom’s Canoe,” my most widely anthologized poem was the first poem I published, in 2007 the year I turned 50.
VAH: I love the rhythm and music in that poem. Fifty is a milestone and Mom’s Canoe seems to have gotten you off to a fine beginning.
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve written to date?
RF: A very short poem called “Only” written for my son who has Aspergers.
VAH: That poem must be particularly close to your heart.
More with Poet Rebecca Foust posting here on days that end in three.
In the meantime, enjoy a sampling of her work:
“Dream of the Rood” featured on Poetry Daily, 10/2/14
“Prodigal,” Valparaiso Poetry Review, Volume XIV, Number 2 (Spring 2013)
Rebecca Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from the Frost Place and the MacDowell Colony. Her fifth book, Paradise Drive won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Molly Peacock calls it “jagged” and “fresh” and Thomas Lux says “There is great music in these poems, and sonnet after sonnet is masterful. Not si
nce Berryman’s Henry have I been so engaged by a persona.”
Foust’s poems are widely published and appear in current or next issues of the Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, North American Review, Southern Indiana Review, and other journals. Her book reviews and essays have published in American Book Review, Calyx, Chautauqua, Prairie Schooner, and Rumpus, and her essay, “Venn Diagram” won the 2014 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Award and appears in the current issue of Malahat Review.
Find Rebecca Foust on the web and social media: