Alcatraz Albatross

Poetry - General
114 Pages
Reviewed on 06/07/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Alcatraz Albatross is a collection of poetry and short stories penned by author Bradley Lewis Foster. Written for adults due to the thematic content and language usage of the collection, this volume contains snippets of what the author himself terms madness, and surreal poetic journeys through different incidences of life. With over eighty slices of prose and poetry to explore, the collection runs an extensive gamut of emotions but has a particular focus on sexual and romantic relationships. There are also some multilingual poems and poems which offer translations into other languages like French and Romanian. What results is a unique journey into the heart and mind of the author.

Author Bradley Lewis Foster encompasses both beautifully lyrical poetic qualities and realistic dialogue and narrative within this work, reminding me of the likes of such masters as Raymond Carver. There is a juxtaposition of the everyday happenstance with some intense emotive reactions, and the variance in the reading experience amongst the collection will certainly keep the audience interested and engaged throughout. A personal favorite of mine was ‘Hotel lobby, 2 am’, which takes the small details and little conversation snippets and crafts a narrative without the need for full prose, capturing unique moments and characters within such a short but expressive space of time. Anyone with an appreciation for lyrical and narrative talent is sure to adore these collected works, and, overall, I would highly recommend Alcatraz Albatross as a highly engaging read by a very talented poet and author.

Maria Victoria Beltran

Alcatraz Albatross by Bradley Lewis Foster is a poetry book that covers various emotions, topics and compromising situations. With titles like Bows and Arrows, May All Our Sons Be Artists, Old Men Who Look Like Buildings, Waking Simulacrum Bounding the Fence and Walking through the Front Door Uninterrupted, This Will Most certainly Be the Last Time I Write About You, and Advice From a Cabbie, the poems provoke and intrigue. Some of the poems tell stories like Campfire about a girl with "caramel corn skin and hair the color of her eyelashes", a poignant love story with an intriguing ending, which you have to read yourself.

Alcatraz Albatross writer Bradley Lewis Foster is a surrealist poet and fictionist in the mold of Charles Bukowski. This writer who hails from a small town in Montana is both funny and introspective and perhaps a little bit mad. I personally enjoy the stories he tells with a sharp wit and wild imagination through his poems. Crisp, introspective, and provocative, his love poems are refreshingly sarcastic but there is no denying the fact that this is a man that has loved, lost, and loved again. In The Teachers, he tells a personal story of how his parents find each other but the strange thing is that we can all relate with them and this is perhaps one of the reasons why Alcatraz Albatross is a collection of poetry that tugs at our hearts and brains in a way that only great poems can.

Sarah Stuart

To suggest Bradley Lewis Foster’s poetry is freestyle would be misleading; it is Crazy-Bradley-Style, but it can’t be dismissed. Foster himself describes his offerings in Alcatraz Albatross as surrealist, and it is an accurate word to use. They are weird, dreamlike (nightmarish?), and bizarre. The more you read, the more you want, need, crave; it is addictive. “For Readers of Dylan Thomas, Charles Bukowski, Thomas Pynchon, and all the other madmen”? Perhaps. Dylan Thomas is a poet I like to the extent of knowing “Do not go gentle into that good night” by heart. Whatever the truth of the claim, Alcatraz Albatross is a book no poetry lover can, or should, ignore. Where else would you find such diversity of subject or presentation from formatting to foreign languages?

Alcatraz Albatross by Bradley Lewis Foster is innovative, different, utterly irresistible, and likely to convert those who dismiss poetry if they can be persuaded to explore it and find their own special treasures. My favorites are Threehundredandseventeen – “she set down a toothy mousetrap in the periphery of the best-laid plans”, the irreverent Cumulative nimbus kisser – “Solve God's crossword puzzle and send in your answers to The Editor”, Recidivism, Alea iacta est (The die is cast in Latin), Texas with its change from a dismissive beginning to the plea in the final line, and the one I could, and very likely might, reread endlessly forever – The Faces in the Shower: 184 words with no verses at all. Alcatraz Albatross is not a coffee table book; it should be read and enjoyed.