Jennifer Elise Foerster

2021 Muni Poet - Jennifer Elise Foerster

Jennifer Elise Foerster received her PhD in English and Literary Arts at the University of Denver and her MFA from the Vermont College of the Fine Arts, and is an alumna of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford. Jennifer is the author of two books of poetry, Leaving Tulsa (2013) and Bright Raft in the Afterweather (2018), both published by the University of Arizona Press. The daughter of an Air Force diplomat, Foerster grew up living internationally, is of European (German/Dutch) and Mvskoke descent, and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma. She lives in San Francisco.

from Lost Coast

On a treadmill by the window at 16th and De Haro
I name pigeons, high wires, green car,
blue. There must be other names
for metal boxes, electrical labyrinths
rigged across the sky. Other names
for blue. Other than sea.
Not all birds that live in the city
are pigeons. Not all are birds.
I strap myself into the rowing machine.
What an exile.
What dry land, wet air,
flowers breaking through windows.


An excerpt from Bright Raft in the Afterweather by Jennifer Elise Foerster.  Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Elise Foerster. Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press.