Home stories Italian Expat Series, Author Lee Foust, A Great Writer And Good Friend

Italian Expat Series, Author Lee Foust, A Great Writer And Good Friend

written by M.E. Evans April 5, 2014

jpegAfter much nomadism, I have come to consider place to be less of a geographical reality and more of an illusion of significance associated with our troubled concept of identity. Frankly, too many people reside out of place for nationality, language, culture, or race (another outmoded and imaginary concept according to geneticists) to be as significant and we believe them to be. Notice the pause, the hesitation when you ask someone, “Where are you from?” What information do you expect to extract? A self-proclamation for your profiling? I have come to believe that a free, unafraid human being lives beyond place’s strict confines or its conformity to a nationalist, a racist, or a demographic ideal.

My book of fiction, Sojourner, collects 19 poems, 7 short stories, 6 prose poems, and 7 non-narrative prose pieces, each exploring the mysteries of their characters’ relationship to place: house hunting, traveling, running away, returning, studying, getting lost, emigrating, dreaming, cheating, squatting, dying, sleeping, surviving, relocating, getting married, and coming home.

Sojourner is divided into two large sections and a short middle section dividing the other two thematically. The texts of the first part focus mostly on Americans ill at ease at home or traveling, and those of the latter half on expatriates of all types. The three texts of the middle, dividing section bridge the gap between casual travel and persistent foreignness, and treat of the madness of the moment of decision, who we are before we relocate and then the aftereffects of our nomadism.


Here’s a topical table of contents for Sojourner:


  1. An American boy stuck in murderous US suburbia.

  2. A suburban youth seeks apartment in the big city.

  3. Freaks cruising a San Francisco nightclub circa 1992.

  4. SF yuppie cheats on girlfriend with Irish orphan.

  5. Drunk Parisians lament servitude.

  6. A French junkie scores in Florence.

  7. American Goth homeless on the streets of Amsterdam.

  8. A brother laments death in Lubbock.

  9. A brother survives death in NYC.

  10. Americans drive to Toronto to see Patti Smith.

  11. Americans and Brits fight over Brooklyn.

  12. House hunting in NYC.

  13. Air conditioning for the NYC masses.

  14. Sister Morphine stalks the Lower East Side.

  15. A Syrian emperor in Ancient Rome.

  16. Italian dreams in NYC.

  17. An academic drinks beer on the Lower East Side.

  18. Friendship as reflected in two bars, one in SF and one in NYC


  1. Captain Anarchy stalks the streets of NYC before and after 9/11.

  2. A traveler loses track of place for a night.

  3. An American writer permanently relocates to Helsinki.


  1. Sex change in Pontassieve.

  2. Savonarola sieged in piazza S. Marco.

  3. Berlusconi is Vesuvius.

  4. Naples is a befana.

  5. Shakespeare studies in Rome.

  6. Florence chokes on itself.

  7. A Venetian nobleman commits suicide with a displaced Frenchman during carnival.

  8. Beatrice in Purgatory.

  9. Commuter train, Florence—Pontassieve.

  10. American soldiers buried in Tuscan soil remembered.

  11. Florentine poet publicly dismembered.

  12. A happy expatriate returns to Florence.

  13. A perfidious Italian wife acts Bluebeard outside Orvieto.

  14. An Irishman visits Volterra.

  15. Love in ghostly Florence.

  16. Love in abandoned Assisi.

  17. Love in duplicitous Poznan.

  18. Words are a place too.


My website: www.leefoust.com

My blog: http://leefoust.blogspot.it/

A free, downloadable CD’s worth of performances from Sojourner: https://soundcloud.com/lee-foust/sets/sojourner-previously-entitled


Lee Foust is a well known expat author and professor in Florence, Italy. You can purchase his book Sojourner on Amazon. The eBook version will be available this week.


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