Inspired by her Polish American heritage and her first visit to her family’s homeland in 1996, Linda Nemec Foster’s stunning new collection poignantly reflects on the immigrant experience — an experience of loss and discovery, of ambivalence and pride, of deep tragedy and redemption. Foster’s own ethnicity as the daughter of second-generation immigrants from Poland is colored by America’s somewhat disinterested view of the “other” Europe — only recently emerged from history’s dark shadow — and of a country that for a hundred years did not exist as a political entity. In the book’s opening poem, “The Awkward Young Girl Approaching You,” she struggles with this sense of ethnic identity: “Who will speak for the dispossessed, / those who come from nowhere, / whose birthplace cannot be found / on any map . . . ?” Foster’s attempts to reclaim an ethnic heritage, to search for herself in the mirror of her family’s history, resonate throughout her verse.
Amber Necklace from Gdansk moves from lyric childhood memories and descriptions of immigrant life to prose poems that interweave the mythic and historic past with the present. Imaginative, powerful, surprising, and magical, Foster’s lines breathe life into the land, history, and culture of her ancestors. Who will speak for the dispossessed? These poems will.
Found an Error? Tell us about it.