EastOver Press is proud to announce the publication of Crow Funeral, a collection of poems by Kate Hanson Foster. The title will be released March 8, 2022.
Crow Funeral is the end result of intention and design gone off script. What began as fascination with a phenomenon of crows congregating in overwhelming numbers around one of their fallen, eventually became a collection that merges an interest in the neurological wiring of birds with a mother’s battle with postpartum depression and anxiety.
We as humans have the tendency to anthropomorphize what we have deep need for—ritual, spectacle, and ceremony, and above all, meaning. If crows can orchestrate an event to mourn their own, then perhaps it is proof that even birds have a built-in urgency to center themselves inside of life’s chaos. And yet, it’s likely that crows do not mourn at all, and instead they simply reflexively react to something potentially dangerous. There is no deeper significance to the event at all, profound as it may appear.
How do you raise children, pray, or write poems in a world with no meaning? Crow Funeral dismisses meaning as a construct concluded from a certain set of metaphysical “signs,” and instead simultaneously accepts and rejects God and meaning in search of an exactness that only language can create.
Kristin Hersh, American singer-songwriter and author of Seeing Sideways: A Memoir of Music and Motherhood, said of Crow Funeral, “Kate Hanson Foster’s world is a beautiful barn, a frightening mind, and a shimmering street. A timeless America.”
Sarah Sousa, author of Hex and See the Wolf, said, “Through poems of motherhood, mortality, loss and faith, Kate Hanson Foster’s collection Crow Funeral posits what it means to not only make a secure home for your children but to become the literal dwelling place. From gestation through birth and the accrual of days spent mothering, Hanson Foster circles the challenges and hard truths all mothers must face. Hanson Foster’s unflinching examination of postpartum depression, anxiety and the loss of perspective that can result after years spent being the strength and foundation of a family is tempered with love letters to her children: “I became a mom / only once, you know. // You are the bike / I learned to ride.” She writes stark love lyrics for home, her complicated relationship with Catholicism, her husband as father and lover, and, most powerfully, her own body. Hanson Foster not only honors her body’s capability to bear and sustain children and nurture a family, but sings praises to its sensuality. Crow Funeral depicts the unique intimacy between a mother and her children, an intimacy which sometimes blurs the line between me and we, that which “God doesn’t / know a thing about,” fraught with overwhelming love and shot through with ferocity.”
Michael Kleber-Diggs, author of Worldly Things, said, “In Crow Funeral, drama and desire build line by line and poem by poem. The work here is intensely personal. The narrative and its themes concern specific human beings, yet they maintain a universal posture that calls all of us closer to our humanity. Kate Hanson Foster is a poet of uncommon wit, charm, candor, and clarity. She keeps her focus on the poems, not the poet, and deploys her abundant skills to create an enduring and important testament that is simultaneously devastating and hopeful.”
Hanson Foster is the author of Mid Drift, a finalist for the Massachusetts Center for the Book Award. Her writing has appeared in Birmingham Poetry Review, Comstock Review, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, Salamander, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. A recipient of the NEA Parent Fellowship through the Vermont Studio Center, she lives and writes in Groton, Massachusetts.