Friday, November 13, 2015

Pray for the Wheaton College English Department

As two of the premier Christian colleges in the country, Messiah College and Wheaton College often compete for students and sports victories.  I think I speak for my colleagues at Messiah, especially those in the humanities, when I say that we are not competing today.

A few hours ago I posted about the sudden death of Roger Lundin, a gifted Christian scholar who has influenced the life of so many of us with his serious reflections on faith and learning.

I just realized that another member of the English Department at Wheaton also passed away this week.  I did not know Brett Foster nor am I familiar with his work, but if he was a member of the English Department at Wheaton he must have been a very bright and talented teacher, scholar, and poet. Foster passed away on Monday after a battle with cancer.

What a sad day for those of us committed to working in places like Wheaton and Messiah.  Let's keep the Wheaton English Department and the entire Wheaton community in our prayers as they cope with the loss of these colleagues and friends. I am sure that the rich Christian community at Wheaton will be a comfort through it all.  As a department chair, I can't imagine what it must be like to go through this.

Here is a post from the Wheaton website on Foster's death:

The Wheaton College community is saddened by the death of Associate Professor of English Dr. Brett Foster. Dr. Foster died last night, following a battle with cancer.
“Wheaton College mourns the death of Professor Brett Foster, who has been a good, true friend to his students and colleagues on campus,” said Wheaton College President Dr. Philip G. Ryken. “Dr. Foster’s exceptional poems will be a lasting treasure for all who read them, both inside and outside the church.”
“While we rejoice that Professor Foster’s earthly struggles are over and find comfort in the promise of his eternal life with Christ, we grieve the loss suffered by his wife Anise, his children Gus and Avery, and his many friends among the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Wheaton College,” Ryken said.
Dr. Foster’s award-winning publications include The Garbage Eater (Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2011) and Fall Run Road (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Beyond campus, Dr. Foster shared his poetry and expertise at readings at The Poetry Foundation in Chicago, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and more.
His poems have been published in Anglican Theological Review, Books & Culture, Bostonia, The Christian Century, Harvard Review, Yale Review, and other journals, as well as in the anthologies And What Rough Beast: Poems at the End of the Century (Ashland Poetry Press, 1999), American Religious Poems (Library of America, 2006), Best New Poets (University of Virginia Press, 2007), Imago Dei (ACU Press, 2012), Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (Yale University Press, 2013), The Gulf Stream: Poems of the Gulf Coast(Snake Nation Press, 2013), and St. Peter's B-List: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints (Ave Maria Press, 2014).
Dr. Foster received grants from the PEN American Center and the Illinois Arts Council, and was awarded the Willis Barnstone Prize for translation and the Baltimore Review Poetry Prize, among others.
A memorial service for Dr. Foster will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 14 in Pierce Memorial Chapel, located on the southeast corner of Washington and Franklin streets in Wheaton. An obituary with additional details is available here.