Rebecca Foust

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Paradise Drive

Paradise Drive
By Rebecca Foust
Published by Press 53
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Winner of the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry

A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection

Winner First Annual Poetry Society of Virginia Book Award

Winner 2016 National Indie Excellence Award for Poetry

A Shelf Unbound Notable 100

Winner 2016 San Francisco Book Festival Award for Poetry

Winner 2016 Royal Dragonfly Award for Poetry

Praise for Paradise Drive

There is great music in these poems, and sonnet after sonnet is masterful. Not since Berryman’s Henry have I been so engaged by a persona: Pilgrim, who ‘like most of we’ is good and bad, hapless sometimes, other times approaching wisdom, always sending deeper and deeper her primary roots.

Thomas Lux, author of Child Made of Sand and God Particles

In Rebecca Foust’s splendid book-length sonnet sequence, Paradise Drive, we come upon a Pilgrim contemplating the deadly sins while hiding out in the bathrooms at some of Marin County, California’s swankiest parties. As the Pilgrim swaggers into an idiosyncratic, believable, frail spirituality, her unmediated, un-medicated new life emerges. The sonnets of this new life are jagged, fresh, and formed in only the way a stunningly skilled poet can craft them. Foust drives her Keatsian sensibility straight into the 21st Century of terrorism and autism, divorce and yoga, soldiers and syringes, booze and valet parking, determined to prove that truth makes beauty. Not only is Paradise Drive a magnificent achievement, it’s a deep comfort as well.

Molly Peacock, author of The Second Blush: Poems

In Paradise Drive, a sequence of loose sonnets—mostly eschewing end-rhyme for a musical internal rhyme, and varying their line lengths to better construct a singular contemporary voice—Rebecca Foust does it: she reinvents the sonnet form, making it a unit of expression again, not a museum piece sitting on its plinth, forlornly wishing we'd quit paying homage to it. She relies on the arc of the sequence to move her central character, Pilgrim from a numb captivity in a stultifying environment to a widening understanding of suffering and compassion, and thus a point-of-balance vis-a-vis the world; but she strews the individual poems with savagely sparkling jewels of satire, insight, and wit. This is a masterful book, yes, and also a great deal of fun to read. 

James Cummins, author of Still Some Cake and Then & Now



Foust addresses the Pauline rubrics of greed, pride, envy, lust, wrath, gluttony, and sloth as persona poems, all in the context of twenty-first century Marin County opulence. –Terry Lucas, South 85 Journal

Foust’s sonnet sequence alters the traditions of Western literature, as her heroine relentless probes for truth in places where some might not think to look. –Susan Gunter, American Arts Quarterly.

These poems, so rich in meaning and nuance, cry out to be read and reread.

—Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer

Foust's language makes me think of Nabokov and how dark and light he can be in the same phrase. Like Nabokov, Foust knows when to turn up the heat or turn down the lights.  

—Dean Rader, Huffington Post

With her third collection, Paradise Drive, Foust emerges as an original voice in contemporary poetry. A book of linked sonnets narrated by a character called Pilgrim, Paradise Drive is sharp with irony and humor, offering keen social commentary and moments of lyricism.

—Diana Whitney, Poetry of John Burnside, Jane Hirshfield, Rebecca Foust, and Deborah Landau from the San Francisco Chronicle

Foust’s vocabulary soars and plummets. Her quite considerable accomplishment is to have written a book that is vivacious and filled with snark (even if much of the snarking is directed at Pilgrim herself) while almost never losing sight of an underlying seriousness.

—Lee Rossi, Smartish Pace

Foust’s language is compelling; her skill and craft authoritative and assured. It would be hard not to read this collection through in one sitting although it is equally pleasurable to take the time to read and re-read these poems. Her registers range from wry—at times, downright snarky—to the elegiac. 

—Lorna Knowles Blake, “Visions, Vessels, Voices,” The Hudson Review (Print version)

This book proves that the record of humankind will be found in poetry It is funny and compelling. It aches with truth.” 

—Grace Cavalieri, “Poetry Exemplars” in the Washington Independent Review of Books

What made Chaucer relevant to his time is what makes Foust relevant and compelling for us today.

—M. B. McClatchey, The Collagist

A bravura composition, poems packed with compelling images that never slow things down.

—Barbara Berman, “National Poetry Month Picks—The Rumpus,” 

Pilgrim is a complex and flawed every person whose quest for “options” is timely and universal. —Bob Wakes, Coffee Spew

It's hard to say enough about Rebecca Foust's Paradise Drive. Go buy the book. 

—Mike Northern, Wordgathering

[A] masterful work about the search for meaning in meaninglessness and for fulfillment in a world abounding with distractions and shallowness. 

—Serena M. Agusto-Cox, Savvy Verse & Wit

Foust’s targets flay themselves just by opening their mouths. 

—Zara Raab, Mom Egg Review

There’s an exuberant and yet restrained variety to Foust’s sonnets. Anyone eager to see what’s possible with the form in the 21st century will find an excellent model in Paradise Drive

—Athena Kildegaard for BLOOM, “Modern Pilgrim: Rebecca Foust’s Paradise Drive” 

Interviews and Features

Poetry Daily featured Paradise Drive and two poems, 4/15/15

Stanford Magazine, The Dish, Jan/Feb 2015 issue

Evan Karp Interview for LitSeen in SF Weekly, 2/26/15

Vicki Hudson’s Three x Five interview, 4/03/15

Athena Kildegaard for BLOOM, 4/29/15

Blot Lit Review Interview, 7/12/2015

paperback | 114 pages | 9781941209165 | April 24, 2015