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Cover
Leaving Tulsa
By Jennifer Elise Foerster
88 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / 2013
Paper (978-0-8165-2236-1)
  
Series
  - Sun Tracks

Related Interest
  - Poetry
  - Native American Studies


In her first magical collection of poetry, Jennifer Elise Foerster weaves together a mythic and geographic exploration of a woman's coming of age in a dislocated time. Leaving Tulsa, a book of
Part coming-of-age story, part road elegy, part history, part magic, Leaving Tulsa scorches the boundaries of time, place, and self as the speaker both explores and challenges her Muscogee and European heritage within a contested America.

—The Missouri Review

Wow. This first book of poems by Jennifer Foerster reminds me of the urgent vision fueling Kerouac's On the Road. The road is a demanding being. Foerster spins her poem-songs like wheels. She's from a younger generation, and not a man but a young native woman trying to put the story of a broken people back together.

—Joy Harjo, author of Crazy Brave: A Memoir

In these poems spun from what has been scattered, Jennifer Foerster fashions the vessels not to re-gather those 'relics/littering the plains,' but to honor, to name. She herself has learned, beautifully.

—Eleni Sikelianos, author of Body Clock

For a book that unfurled like a wild, restless road trip, I took great delight in Jennifer Foerster's Leaving Tulsa. Sensuous, generous, full of beginnings and endings, this map of America flapping in the dark meditates on Foerster's Muskegee ancestry, the American prairie, the loss of her grandmother's land, and her shard-like rediscovery in California.

—Tess Taylor, NPR

road elegies and laments, travels from Oklahoma to the edges of the American continent through landscapes at once stark and lush, ancient and apocalyptic. The imagery that cycles through the poems—fire, shell, highway, wing—gives the collection a rich lyrical-dramatic texture. Each poem builds on a theme of searching for a lost "self"—an "other" America—that crosses biblical, tribal, and ecological mythologies.

In Leaving Tulsa, Foerster is not afraid of the strange or of estrangement. The narrator occupies a space in between and navigates the offbeat experiences of a speaker that is of both Muscogee and European heritage. With bold images and candid language, Foerster challenges the perceptions of what it means to be Native, what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be an American today. Ultimately, these brave and luminous poems engage and shatter the boundaries of time, self, and continent.

Foerster's journey transcends both geographic space and the confines of the page to live vividly in the mind of the reader.


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