Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mid Drift by Kate Hanson Foster

Mid Drift
by Kate Hanson Foster
Loom Press
Lowell, MA
Copyright © 2011 by Kate Hanson Foster
ISBN: 978-0-931507-27-4
Softbound, 62 pages, $15

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

So let me start by saying I truly enjoyed Kate Hanson Foster’s Mid Drift for its simple complexity – or is it complex simplicity. This book breathes language, image and sun breaking through an overcast sky. It is about Lowell, MA, love, failed love, about prayer for what was, is or will be, it is a memoir of failure and of hope. It is very accessible and a joy to read.

In the opening poem, “Prayer” Ms. Hanson Foster tells us what her life is about:

Dear God:
what should we make
of what has gone wrong with my life?
All day I could watch
dead water. I’m in love
with a lunatic, I drink too much,
and I no longer believe in recovery.
I want back what disappears
into the crook of the canal.

But unhappiness can be combined with a touch of humor that masks a depressed state as in “Riverwalk”

He tells me about his drinking
problem, the prostitute,

his unhappy marriage.
A stickler for facts, he informs me

this is the longest lenticular
truss bridge remaining in the United States

I tell him I can sometimes still see Tom
hanging from the cast iron.

This book reveals people as they are, gloss removed, myth burned off, the fake outside the stadium. It shows urban depression as it really is, not the gleaming glass and steel, but the “deserted floor of that mill building”, the “whorey smell of big cities/a strange flower in some moth/eaten cow town” or she can relate personal sorry when she wants to “...tell you how it feels to be forgotten.”

Hanson Foster gives us images clear, stark, indelible. People are alcoholics, depressed, driven to compulsive or inevitable ends. Yet this is a poetry book that leaves a discarded past and a half acre of hope. Well worth reading.

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