Rebecca Foust

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ONLY - Books


Published by Four Way Books
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Urgent from the outset, Rebecca Foust’s ONLY insists that the only thing worth writing about is everything. Prompted to confront what she does not know, the speaker lists, “Null. All. What’s after death or before.” This book scales the cliff-face of adulthood, that paradoxical ascent in which the longer we live the less we know of life, in which we find that each of us is only ourselves and yet delicately interconnected with everyone, everything, else. These candid lyrics ponder our broken political systems, family (dys)function and parenting challenges, divergent and intersecting identities, the complexities of sexuality and gender, natural refuge and climate catastrophe, and in general what it means to be human in a world that sometimes feels as if it is approaching apocalypse. At the ledge of this abyss, however, Foust reminds us of the staggering beauty of life, the legacies of survival in the echoes of care that outlast us: “I came / to the canyon rim and saw // how best to carry you: I let the stone go.”


“The author has a gift for rhythmic imagery in poems [that] finely weave contrasting subjects, sensually recollecting earlier life while casting a hard, penetrating look at identity, politics, family, and the climate crisis. In these beautifully crafted and ecstatic pages, Foust celebrates the strength of memory and the interconnectedness of all people.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review), 7/14/22 []

“Artifice and Artistry,” omnibus review of ONLY along with Skeletons by Deborah Landau,  Storm Swimmer by Ernest Hilbert, All Souls by Saskia Hamilton, Gravity and Center by Henri Cole, Strong Feather by Jennifer Reeser. Jarmon says, “I am grateful to have found the poetry of Rebecca Foust with its luminous answers and repudiations of sanctimonies of all kinds. I will be referring to her book ONLY for years to come.”
— Mark Jarmon, The Hudson Review, Fall/Winter 2023 issue

“These brilliantly crafted, insightful, and honest poems, never fall short, but instead offer the reader an opportunity to assess their own trajectory.”
Lee Rossi, RHINO ReviewsVolume 6 No. 1: January, 2023

“Erudite and elegantly crafted . . . poems that resonate to both indict and heal . . . what is most poignant about this collection is how it perseveres with humility and tenderness while persisting in truth-telling and search. What speaks is neither faint nor cynical but instead swells with courage and sincerity.”
— Jennifer Pons, Mom’s Egg Review9/14/23

ONLY featured in Mom’s Egg Review MER Bookshelf of New & Noteworthy Books for June 2023

Praise for ONLY:

Insoluble, this give and take, and yet the music made from the gifts and griefs of a life is Rebecca Foust’s deepest source both of clarity and of nuance, “the language of living, and its aftermath.”   
David Baker, author of Whale Fall


Like an impressionist painter, she uses light to capture the immediacy of the present, the passage of time. Foust’s most remarkable gift is showing us “… the world as it is: gorgeous in its mortal wound.” 
Ellen Bass, author of Indigo


Every poem in this book offers what Foust describes as moments of “seeing something new, and listening, really listening.” I’m convinced that we’ll be listening to these poems for a long time to come.
Peter Campion, author of El Dorado

Book Prizes: 

Second Place for the 2022 Royal Dragonfly Award

Silver Medal in the Poetry Category in the 2022 Independent Publisher Book Awards 

Longlist Finalist for 2022 Julie Suk Book Prize from Jacar Press


Dance film of title poem "Only" published in TriQuarterly, created and performed by Maxine Flasher-Düzgüneş

Featured in Snowflakes in a Blizzard (5/16/23)

LitHub reprint of "Prompt" (4/14/23)

Interview by Meryl Natchez for Zyzzyva Magazine (2/10/23)

Featured in Voetica

Featured on The Poetry Show on KRBX/Radio Boise 89.9/93.5 FM

Featured in DMQ Review Virtual Salon in December 2022

Academy of American Poets 2022 Featured Fall Books List (10/8/22)

Featured on North Shore Morning/Superior Reads on WTIP Radio 90.7, Grand Marais MN, hosted by Lin Salisbury and CJ Heithoff (12/13/23)

Featured on The Hive Poetry Collective on KSQD 90.7 FM in conversation with Susan Cohen, hosted by Dion O'Reilly (8/15/22)

paperback | 88 pages | 9781954245297 | September 15, 2022