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Letter from the Editor
Brett Foster, who died in November 2015 at the age of forty-two, started teaching in the English Department at Wheaton College in the fall of 2005. During Brett's first year at Wheaton, Alan Jacobs told me he had a new colleague I should get to know. I almost always follow up on Alan's suggestions, but sometimes it takes a while, and it wasn't until the following year that Brett and I met. His first contribution to Books & Culture, a poem entitled "The Little Flowers of Dan Quisenberry," appeared shortly thereafter, in our March/April 2007 issue.
We began to meet regularly, usually on Monday mornings at the Starbucks near my office. Brett worked there a lot (and at other such places, too), grading papers, preparing for classes, working on a paper he was going to give at this or that conference. (He loved to travel, even from one coffee shop to another.) He'd often have a course text on the table (Spenser's Faerie Queene, for instance, or a Shakespeare play) along with a couple of scholarly volumes he'd received via interlibrary loan. I soon discovered that he loved books as much as I did—to excess, some might say—and we took many jaunts together, into Chicago and throughout the suburbs. Brett had in his head a map with all the places where used books were sold, and he also regularly consulted schedules for library sales. (He and I shared a fondness for libraries, too, in their infinite variety.) It was good to hear, at a gathering shortly after Brett's death, that just a couple of days before he died, he made a brief foray to an outlet of Half Price Books with his English Department colleague, lifelong friend, and fellow poet Jeffrey Galbraith.
Brett wasn't interested in everything—fiction, for instance, often failed to stir his blood—but it seemed that he was. And when a particular subject grabbed his attention, he would plunge into it with ferocious intensity, writing thousands of words (and sending ...