One of the most exciting new voices which Hull's City of Culture has allowed us to hear so far...
The performance was lent a quiet dignity by local poet Vicky Foster, whose vocal performance toggled between honeyed intimacy and brittle radiophonic crackle.
Neil Mudd, The Morning Star
Vicky Foster’s poems are steeped in the right kind of nostalgia. Not the sentimental or sickly kind, but the kind that assault the senses with beauty and poise. Whether standing astride the North Sea, or wandering the Wolds looking for your lost heart, these words matter.
Ralph Dartford, A Firm Of Poets
MEDIA REVIEWS & EVENTS
Foster and Martin Crowned SoA Audio Drama Winners
Poet and pub singer Vicky Foster and comedy writer Ian Martin are the winners of this year’s Society of Authors audio drama prizes.
The judges said: "It was mesmerising. Incredibly powerful, gripping and a well-written piece that handles domestic violence in an unconventional way. Bathwater is thoughtful and explores inherited trauma well and has beautiful moments. It has great use of the medium and lovely use of language with some memorable phrases. The writing sucks you in, the characters are strong, and it is an intriguing, arresting piece of poetic drama, that explores the way trouble is passed on. It puts an isolated, overlooked world on the airwaves and it does so in a way that makes you really feel for the people it documents."
(Society of Authors, Imison Shortlist Announcement, January 2020)
"Earlier this year I picked a wonderful Radio 4 play, Bathwater, by the Hull poet Vicky Foster who writes beautifully. Well Vicky was one of Ian McMillan’s guests on The Verb this week, recorded at the Contains Strong Language festival in Hull. Here she is with The Broken Orchestra and her poem celebrating the River Hull, which winds its way fragrantly through the old town, past The Deep and into the Humber."
(Sheila McLennon, Pick of the Week, Radio 4, September 2019)
"Having risen to prominence following critically acclaimed appearances at two Contains Strong Language festivals, the broadcast of Bathwater on BBC Radio 4 and with a series of collaborative audio projects thrilling audiences, Vicky Foster reveals more about her work as a poet and author."
(Author Interview, Wrecking Ball Press, December 2019)
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Of course, there’s more to Hull’s poetry scene than the bard of the Brynmor Jones Library. Larkin himself helped to usher in a new generation in 1982, writing the lyrical foreword for the influential Douglas Dunn-edited anthology, A Rumoured City. In September, Rhodes will co-direct Contains Strong Language, a spoken word festival introducing yet more Hull voices. Dean Wilson, Joe Hakim and Vicky Foster, he hopes, could be the latest in a poetic lineage stretching back to Andrew Marvell.
(The Guardian, 2017)
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“Humber Star”, for example, had a fantastic depth and poignancy. A poem by Yorkshire writer Adelle Stripe, it was set to a strings and alto flute score by Reykjavík composer Halldór Smárason, and performed at Queens Hall by local poet Vicky Foster with the Sinfonia UK Collective. As the brittle, yearning 40-minute piece unfolded, accompanying visuals revealed the local Gansey jumper design that gave “Humber Star” its title; these distinct patterns would enable trawlermen’s families — including Stripe’s forebears — to identify relatives drowned at sea.
Financial Times, May 2017
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Contains Strong Language will give a nod to the past but will embrace the future, supporting and encouraging new local talent and giving them a platform alongside first class national and international poets. Well-established and respected names such as Imtiaz Dharker, Bohdan Piasecki and Fred Voss join world-class spoken word artists Kate Tempest and Dr John Cooper Clarke alongside brand new voices including Isaiah Hull, the winner of Words First in 2016, and Hull poet Vicky Foster.
(Huffington Post, September 2017)
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This section also included this audience member's highlight of the evening, as Vicky Foster answered the frequently-asked question “Why do you live in Hull?” with a beautiful love poem to her oft-derided home city. Delivered in those broad vowels peculiar to the land of Airlie Birds and Robins, it expressed a sense of place and a pride in your roots more powerfully, surely, than anything anyone better known has written or said: who'd have thought references to the Hull Daily Mail, pattie and chips or “hands that placed rugby balls over muddy trylines” could prompt tears in the eyes of a coaldust-in-the-blood son of the West Riding? But then that's the power of words.
As well as providing seamless links between the poets, Vicky Foster treated us to her brilliant “Why I Love Where I Live”, a multi-generational journey through the psycho-geographical ley lines of our fair city, celebrating the unique blend of guts, compassion and resilience that makes our people what we are. Superb stuff.
Up next batting for Hull, Vicky Foster.…. she smashes it with poetry birds, pictures of parks and bundles of civic pride.
After just eighteen months Vicky Foster has developed into a voice of some note: her honesty and plain-spoken verse, coupled with a clear sense of pride in her roots, has made her stand out.
Her poems read like pages torn from a scrapbook, scattered with memories, yet acutely aware of change. Sat in Minerva Pub by the Humber, you can feel the sense of history, the presence of all those who have made this place their own: the poem ‘Why I love where I live’ connects the generations to this spot, then allows each life to spiral out into the city streets where it may.
In the poem ‘Smiggy’ – a tribute to a friend, the line ‘tumbling like carefree stigs’ jumps out from the page, immediately painting a picture of rag-tag teens, looking for a place to land. “Vicky, she holds the heart of the city”… I heard someone say after.