April’s conversation with Poet Rebecca Foust continues. Today’s installment looks at what the writer reads.
VAH: Rebecca, Do you have a favorite literary character?
RF: Boo Radley
VAH: Harper Lee’s characters are often mentioned in response to that question. First time for Boo Radley though.
Any favorite authors?
RF: No, I love so many.
VAH: You’re stranded in a snowstorm, stuck on a deserted island. What books would you hope to have with you or find?
RF: Shakespeare and the bible.
VAH: The gamut of emotion there. Love, pain, joy, anger, revenge, hope, redemption, drama, comedy… and would last a while.
What is the most memorable book, story or poem you’ve read?
RF: Well, I just wrote a piece for Poetry Daily on Yeats’s “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” and that is the only poem I have ever truly memorized, so let’s say that one.
VAH: I find hope that you’ve only memorized one poem, since I can’t memorize anything.
Do you have a favorite book, poem, or story?
RF: I love the poems of George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins and John Donne. My favorite book of poems is probably Ariel by Sylvia Plath, The House on the Marshland by Louise Gluck or Winter Stars by Larry Levis.
VAH: What author or books keep you up at night because you can’t put them down?
RF: I recently loved The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes and Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch and The Secret History. I really loved The Old American by Ernest Hebert. Anything by Tobias Wolff is great. I love reading short stories too. Poems take more attention and work and it is hard for me to read them at night with the focus they require.
VAH: Reading poetry at night before bed would probably keep my mind awake, churning the images around. Which reader are you – always finish what you started or put it down and move on if you don’t like it?
RF: Always finish because I am stubborn and not a quitter.
More with Poet Rebecca Foust posting here on days that end in three (or occasionally begin with 3).
In the meantime, enjoy a sampling of her work:
“Dynamic Response of Multi-Layered Soil Media in the Frequency Domain,” featured on Poetry Daily, 2/1/15
“Biography,” “But What Can Wake You,” and “Eulogy,” published in OmniVerse, Fall 2014
“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: