Black Winged Things

Crow Funeral by Kate Hanson Foster

Review by Stephen Page

            In the first poem of “Crow Funeral,” by Kate Hanson Foster, the narrator employs crows as harbingers of death. The black birds appear repeatedly throughout the book and become symbols of mortality.

Even though the narrator desires to become a wife and a mother, her husband and first born quickly become responsibilities, sweaty clingers, and nerve-racking noise makers—rather than what she hoped for, joyful beings accompanying her through her cycle of life.

She wants to believe that (her learned version of) God will help her understand this all, help her be happy, but her (socialized version of) God becomes a smelly bug, a dying fish—thus unhelpful. Eventually, she realizes that she is the Creator, the creator of, what is to pass, three children, so she is the one responsible for their (and her) happiness.

As the book progresses, she has other epiphanies, but there is a crow perpetually perched upon her shoulder.  She falls into a long-term depression. 

Does the narrator find a way to rise from her mental nadir?

The poetry by Mx. Foster is impactive, elegant, and metaphorically consistent.

Kate Hanson Foster

Kate Hanson Foster is the author of Mid Drift, a finalist for the Massachusetts Center for the Book Award, and Crow Funeral. 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.

Her website is:

You may also find her on facebook, twitter, and Instagram.

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