If you look Rebecca Foust's new poetry collection, Paradise Drive, Press 53, 2015, up on Amazon, you will notice that it is "frequently bought together" with Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Intrigued? You should be.
Paradise Drive is a small collection of narrative sonnets. We meet Pilgrim, Foust's protagonist, who is "A buzz-kill: dour, dry, dull". Pilgrim has left her home in Altoona, a railroad town in Pennsylvania, and moved to the ritzy Marin County, California. Pilgrim is the character you want to show up on an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. At a cocktail party, she hides out in the host's bathroom, keeping herself occupied with reading material left by the toilet. Later on, Pilgrim finds herself playing a game of her own. The game is not a round of George and Martha's "Get The Guests," but one where Pilgrim notices references made throughout the night to the seven deadly sins. There is a sonnet for each sin. In "Lust, Retrieving Her Car," Foust writes,
When she picked up, the voice told her to "call
for a good time." Just a butt dial, she's sure.
What pimp would dare phone her husband here? (Page 9)
In Paradise Drive, Rebecca Foust tackles contemporary issues like autism, divorce, cheating and drug addiction. Foust skillfully uses an old poetic form to tell a modern-day story which makes Paradise Drive lively and unique. Foust is a fantastic poet, but she is an equally talented storyteller and satirist.
*This review is part of Poetic Book Tours.
About the author:
Rebecca Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place, the MacDowell Colony, and the Sewanee Writer’s Conference Her fifth book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Her other books include All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving Prize), God, Seed (Foreword Book of the Year Award) and two chapbooks that won the Robert Phillips Chapbook Prizes in 2008 and 2009. Foust’s poems appear widely in journals including American Academy of Poets Poem-A-Day series, Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, Sewanee Review, and Verse Daily. A first generation college graduate, Foust attended Smith College (BA 1979), Stanford Law School (1979), and Warren Wilson College (MFA 2010). She lives in Northern California and works as Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change and assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Foust won the 2015 American Literary Review Creative Writing Award for Fiction judged by Garth Greenwell and the 2015 James Heart Poetry Prize judged by Jane Hirshfield.