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History of the Common Scale by Edward Foster

History of the Common Scale
by Edward Foster

$5  paperback
2008, 32 pages, 8.3 x 5.4

ISBN: 978-0979757334

Print copy available through Amazon.com
or directly from Texture Press.

Praise for History of the Common Scale

“Edward Foster’s poetry, always exacting and infinitely sweeping, comes to us like a whisper from behind our own ears.

No, sweet prince,
like you, your sons grow old
before their time.

Foster can pull thoughts from air—and we delight in his ability to express the unsaid. ‘All around, the walls that line our city start to break.’ But the poems in History of the Common Scale are also rooted in personal interactions. In ‘The People Making Money for You,’ Foster addresses the crowd of monetizers who were until recently lauded:

They strengthen our economy.
They all have dogs—
big ones in many colors,
sometimes plaid.
These people eat their food in little gulps.
These people tell us what they’ll do when they get old.

Foster’s simplicity in handling location, relationships and themes ranging from age to love to jealousy to sorrow, is deceptively plastic. His poems suspend themselves just above language, connotative of some understanding—perhaps common to all of us—that recedes at the brink of words. It is just on this cusp, with some doubt, some explaining, that we find Foster, and trust him to guide us on an impossible course. With pristine lucidity, he knows, the ‘propositions weren’t enough.’”
                                             —Dan Hill, The Brooklyn Rail (March 2009)

“Foster is a master of tone; there is an elegiac and crepuscular charm in many of these poems reminiscent of Cavafy and William Bronk, but there is playfulness too ... The reader of this collection ... is finally left with no solid ground on which to stand.... And yet there is delight in not knowing, delight in music that lures us so skillfully out over the abyss.”
                                             —First Intensity


Poems that achieve a quiet, yet surprisingly intense emotional intensity: A History of the Common Scale is a wonderful introduction to the poetry of Edward Foster, whose words create a swirling, floating world. Identity is in the process of constant recreation, and hope tucks itself into despair. While many of the poems deal with how the individual deals with the inevitability of loss and change, they are courageous and good-humored.

Read Thomas Fink’s detailed review on galatea resurrects #21.

Edward Foster is a widely published critic, essayist, editor, and poet. His poetry has been translated into, and published in, many languages, including single-author volumes in Slovenian, Romanian, and Russian. The poetry editor of MultiCultural Review, Foster is the founding editor of Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Talisman House, Publishers, and Jensen/Daniels, Publishers. He is a co-editor of Contemporary Turkish Studies. He is also the president of Greenfield Distribution, Inc., a book distribution company located in New Hampshire. [website]

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