by Rebecca Foust


by Rebecca Foust


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Urgent from the outset, Rebecca Foust's Only insists that the only thing worth writing about is everything. Prompted to confront what she does not know, the speaker lists, "Null. All. What's after death or before." This book scales the cliff-face of adulthood, that paradoxical ascent in which the longer we live the less we know of life, in which we find that each of us is only ourselves and yet delicately interconnected with everyone, everything, else. These candid lyrics ponder our broken political systems, family (dys)function and parenting challenges, divergent and intersecting identities, the complexities of sexuality, natural refuge and climate catastrophe, and in general what it means to be human in a world that sometimes feels as if it is approaching apocalypse. At the ledge of this abyss, however, Foust reminds us of the staggering beauty of life, the legacies of survival in the echoes of care that outlast us: "I came / to the canyon rim and saw // how best to carry you: I let the stone go."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781954245297
Publisher: Four Way Books
Publication date: 09/15/2022
Series: Stahlecker Selections
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Rebecca Foust is the author of Paradise Drive (Press 53, 2015), winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry and the Poetry Society of Virginia Book Award; All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving, 2010), winner of the Many Mountains Moving Book Prize; and God, Seed: Poetry & Art about the Natural World (Tebot Bach, 2010), a collaboration with artist Lorna Stevens that won the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Poetry. Her chapbooks are The Unexploded Ordnance Bin (Swan Scythe Press, 2020) winner of the Swan Scythe Chapbook Award, and Mom's Canoe (Texas Review Press 2009) and Dark Card (Texas Review Press 2008), winners of the Robert Phillips Poetry Prize in consecutive years. Foust's poems appear widely, in The Hudson ReviewNarrativePloughsharesPOETRYThe Southern Review, and elsewhere. Recognitions include the 2020 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry judged by Kaveh Akbar, the C.P. Cavafy and James Hearst Poetry Prizes, a 2017-19 Marin County Poet Laureateship, and fellowships from The Frost Place, Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and Sewanee Writers' Conference.

Read an Excerpt

O Love this happened or it did not.
In a room with green walls

my son was born. The cord was torn
too soon, so they cut off

his head to save his heart. He lived
for a long time.

For a long time there was no breath or cry.
When finally he spoke,

he spoke the wide, whorled leaves of corn.
He spoke the crickets

in clusters beneath the sheaves, he sang
the soil in. He sang the wind

in the dune and hush of ebb tide. Some say
he died. Some say he died.

Table of Contents

Prompt 3


Dream of the Rood 7

Thirteen 9

Parts of Speech 10

Exsultate jubilate 11

Remember 12

Dawn Piece 13

Cocktail Hour 14

Self-Improvement 16

Not the thing but the fossil of the thing 17

Spring Is 18

Cake 19

Night Skating 20

Tines 23

Let Deer 25

Compline 26


Only 29

The unexploded ordnance bin 30

Collaborator 33

Perseids 35

Everything Golden Is Spilled 37

Like Birders 38

Reflection 39

Saturn-Peach 40

Paean 41

Lies I Told My Third Child 43

Abeyance 44

Echo 46


Train out of Altoona 49

Election Returns 2016 52

Sit with Me 54

Little Brown Bat 57

Blame 60

Vehicular 61

Iconostasis 62

Guernica 63

The Bugler Responds to Mary 64

Blackout 65

Watershed 67

I Learn to Field Strip an M-16 68

Epitaph after Vallejo 71

Dream of the Rood, Reprise 72

The Fox 73


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