Book Review: Kisha Nicole Foster –POEMS 1999-2014

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I first had the pleasure of seeing this poet perform one of her poems at the Cleveland Main Library some time ago. I remember she put her whole body into her performance, projecting her voice, and infusing each syllable with meaning and emotion. This book is a testament to how well her performance poetry works on paper as well as in person.

Some of her poems are abstract, relying on sound and impression to create an emotional impact, so that while I did not know what every line meant, my impressions were strong; moods were set. I could hear and imagine each line as I read, and sometimes I read them aloud to make audible connections I might have missed with a silent reading.

Others are all too clear in their meaning. She doesn’t hold back, so that when you read verses about painful loss and heartbreak, you empathise. Much of her work is deeply personal: reflections on loss and desire and how past mistakes inform the better person she has become today.

Absence of punctuation in some poems aids in the blending of lines to create multiple meanings, not knowing where one thought ends and the other begins. She is adept at using color and imagery, and some lines stand out such as (from “POEM. ONE. FOR. EVERYONE.”)

“let’s tell the truth to shame the lies”

The subject matter varies from one poem to another as well: homages, such as “A Viking Story”; love poems, such as “Say Come Love”; and others that are calls to action or deeply personal such as “UNTITLED.”

“in the cold wind of Cleveland you brought me home

to rewalk the path that I laid

move the mountains I made”

This is an eclectic collection, disparate subjects and styles united by her unique voice. I enjoyed this collection immensely and heartily recommend, Kisha Nicole Foster: poems 1999-2014, to any poetry lover.

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