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Sojourner

by:
Lee Foust (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-8117-0 ©2013
Price: $12.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 189 pages
Category/Subject: FICTION / General

Lee Foust’s Sojourner engages mysteries of place; familiar and foreign cities, people, languages; our staying, our going, finding and abandoning love, ourselves, in flats, tenements, squats, and on park benches.

Abstract:
Sojourner gathers stories, poems, experiments, and prose poems from Lee Foust’s 25 years of traveling, studying, and living in various US and European cities. The multiform texts engage the mysteries of our experience of place, our sense of belonging, and our desire to escape into unknown territories. Sojourner’s many voices include teenagers in obscure California suburbs, San Francisco apartment hunters, European backpackers, junkies, and refugees, mourners in Texas, revolutionaries in Brooklyn, dreaming Manhattan barflies, Arctic lovers, Vesuvian trash bags, a re-figuration of Poe’s Fortunato, Tuscan expatriates lost in summertime reveries, and the Mad Hatnik.

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Customer Reviews

  Inside/out goes outside/in & "Lee Fouust slept here, too" , 03/09/2013
Reviewer: Jeff Gburek
I've had the pleasure of reading some of these tales, poems and rants repeatedly over the years and watching them amass here and finally be published is a great relief in that a voice releases itself in many voices and the opportunity emerges for everyone to find them in one place opening up into many places and yet held within one's firm grasp as the ride throws you back and forth. It's the grasp of the many idioms here, not alone the languages, that feels along the borders of cities and meets you inside their crumbling and struggling human fortresses, the lapidary leaping over many walls, the scrapes with junkies, the search for homes, the foreigner inside the self, and the nooks in which loves are found, destroyed, scattered, pieced back together, never ever to be whole again, but humanly capable of taking the next step, after all. "Ash Wednesday" comes first to mind as a frightening, erudite sociological horror story about both cultural alienation and rivalry set in some nearly Medieval Venetian snare that symbolizes all too cannily contemporary intrigue. It would take too long to comment on the many other texts and their fascinating temporal oneiric convolutions and deflective humorism so I prefer to cite the opener I have here to hand. "I dreamed I lay in an opium den in the Mission District/of San Francisco last night, drinking a bottle of Scotch/I fell asleep and was awakened/by a belligerent gang of teenagers spoiling for a fight/Instead of fighting/I threw a roll of sourdough bread onto Valencia Street/An ugly water glass fell over and smashed/all of my delicate and beautiful champagne and martini glasses/Then I had to pay up and go home." Such are the illusions of traveling, not to mention of being seduced by the dream of living, abroad, anywhere, when one has to continually deal with catching the bus back to the bed inside one's own head. Think about it: one persons "abroad" is another person's home. Then you take that trip from which you never can return. -Jeff Gburek http://transparent-abelard.blogspot.com/

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  Sojourner, Lee Foust , 03/21/2013
Reviewer: KM Nichols
The short stories, poems and prose in, Sojourner are creative, beautiful and profound journeys. Sometimes of a traveler other times as someone who arrives-leaves and arrives again. They are often deep observations both inward and outward of place and time. All to be to contemplated and taken in for all to experience. One of the beginning stories, House-Hunting captures a tone for me, "you don't want to be driven out sooner than you feel like going..." That knowing that you will feel like going or moving on is through-out many of the pieces. Whether physically moving or moving through the conscience. It's a constant questioning. It keeps moving. There are many worthy poems, stories and prose in between, but I think, Autonomy Lost (Anarchism Explained!) is fascinating. This long and complex poem is like many stories within a story and the rantings and insights are a voice of an era. A voice of living-of experience. I was gently pulled back with, the title's name, Sojourner. A serene story that feels sincere and honest with a somewhat detached observation on belonging somewhere. Another text worth mentioning is, Ash Wednesday. It is a frightening and intriguing story. There is much to work with in this one. But, for me, it's ending-which I think is a voluntary rebirth of sorts-is significant to the texts before it and seems an appropriate lead to some of the texts to follow. The resolve, or possible arrival, if there is one, comes at first in a beautiful complex and passionate poem, Florence and later, in a quiet and thoughtful short story, Camels and Water. Camels and Water is both grounded in reality and dreamy. A beautiful read. There are many texts not mentioned here. All deserve equal attention. But, that is part of the experience, it is a journey. One worth taking with the opportunity for anyone to find the many paths within a path.

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  heard it first , 03/24/2013
Reviewer: Michael Myshack
I first heard many of the poems presented in this book a couple years ago on soundcloud.com. That's one kind of pleasure. Finally being able to read them is another kind. Even if I hadn't heard them first, many of these pieces, both poetry and prose, are as much for the ear as for the mind. Almost everything is rich with alliteration, assonance, and a variety of internal and end rhymes. There is always a beat, whether the rather strong pulse of the poems or the more subtle pumping of the prose, like the sound of footsteps on uneven ground. I'm not going to rave about everything placed between the front and back covers. Several of the poems left me indifferent and one of the last pieces, Zwariowany Kapelusznik, seemed more like an inside joke than something for public consumption. The title composition, Sojourner, is beautiful and riveting, filled with a quiet, rhythmic, persistent truth. I'd like to re-read it until I have it memorized (I can't even remember nursery rhymes or advertising slogans, so it ain't gonna happen--but the desire is there). Finn Blood, a good story in its own right, filled me with nostalgia for my family, neighbors, and the sound of that very strange language, heard so frequently in northern Minnesota. I loved the question asked about whether they really meant oak tree in a translation of the Kalevala, because there are no native oak in Finland. Autonomy Lost (Anarchism Explained!) is a long, witty, angry, sometimes obscure poem reminding me of H.D.'s Helen in Egypt, T.S. Eliot's Quartets, and some of Ezra Pound's Canto's with its recurrent motifs from the Greeks. Another favorite is The American Cemetery, a fine meditation on past and present, family relations, and the conflict between ideology and decency. The last piece I want to mention is Ash Wednesday, a melding of the rise and fall of a romantic relationship and a retelling of The Cask of Amontillado from the victims point of view. I did not pick up on all the nuances and resonances of the story on the first reading. At the end I could feel the things I was missing but have not yet had time to re-read it. Most of the stories and poems in Sojourner are working on several levels, usually clear enough to be appreciated on the first read but also complex enough to merit a slower, deeper read.

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  Great. , 08/14/2013
Reviewer: Alathea
The prose and poems in this book shed light on an often neglected aspect of journey, the places we (and by 'we' I am refering to those of us with a punk rock asthetic and shallow pockets) call home and everything in between. In gritty detail Foust awakens our senses to both the excitement and the mundane experience that a new place or an old haunt evokes. I thoroughly enjoyed these tails of experience and reflection.

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