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The Lake Michigan Mermaid

A Tale in Poems

Anne-Marie Oomen and Linda Nemec Fosterillustrated by Meridith Ridl

Award Winner

Poetry, Great Lakes, Michigan

Made in Michigan Writers Series

Published: March 2018
ISBN: 9780814342206
Pages: 64 Size: 7 x 8
Published: March 2018
ISBN: 9780814342213
Pages: 64 Size: EPUB

The Lake Michigan Mermaid is a new tale that feels familiar. The breeze off the lake, the sand underfoot, the supreme sadness of being young and not in control—these sensations come rushing back page by page, bringing to life an ancient myth of coming of age in a troubled world. Freed from the minds of Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen, the Lake Michigan mermaid serves as a voice of reason for when we’re caught in the riptide.

This is a gripping tale in poems of a young girl’s desperate search for guidance in a world turned upside down by family and economic upheaval. Raised in a ramshackle cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan, Lykretia takes refuge in her beloved lake in the face of her grandmother’s illness and her mother’s eager attempts to sell their home following her recent divorce. One day Lykretia spots a creature in the water, something beautiful and inexplicable. Is it the mythical Lake Michigan mermaid, or an embodiment of the stories her grandmother told as dementia ravaged her mind? Thus begins a telepathic conversation between a lost young girl and Phyliadellacia, the mermaid who saves her in more ways than one.

Accompanied by haunting illustrations, The Lake Michigan Mermaid offers a tender tale of friendship, redemption, and the life-giving power of water. As it explores family relationships and generational bonds, this book is an unforgettable experience that aims to connect readers of all ages.

Linda Nemec Foster is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College. She is also the author of nine collections of poetry including Amber Necklace from Gdansk, Talking Diamonds, Listen to the Landscape, and Living in the Fire Nest. Foster was selected to be the first poet laureate of Grand Rapids, MI from 2003 to 2005.Anne-Marie Oomen is author of Love, Sex and 4-H (Next Generation Indie Award for Memoir), House of Fields and Pulling Down the Barn (both Michigan Notable Books) and Uncoded Woman (poetry), among others. She teaches at Solstice MFA at Pine Manor College (MA), Interlochen’s College of Creative Arts (MI), and at conferences throughout the country.Meridith Ridl is an artist and an art teacher with a BA from the College of Wooster and MFA from the University of Michigan. She is represented by Lafontsee Galleries in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Meridith lives with her wonderful husband Brent, in Saugatuck, Michigan, and loves wandering the lakeshore and dunes much like Lyk.

When a young girl who fears she is losing everything stands along the shore of Lake Michigan she senses a presence hidden beneath the waves. As her grandmother did before her, she has faith in her intuitions, and in a moment of despair is met by a mysterious healing power. This lovely series of poems, beautifully illustrated in quiet watercolors, tells a tale of grief and longing healed by grace.

– Patricia Hooper

Deft storytellers, Foster and Oomen bring wit, empathy, and a precise eye for detail as they write of the rituals of family and the sorrows of the dispossessed. A richness of metaphors and a fascination with language pulse in work that deserves an enthusiastic audience.

– Colette Inez, author of The Luba Poems

When a girl knows too much already about loss and longing but keeps her heart open, anything is possible. A beloved lake may reveal one of its great secrets. The girl may discover she’s not as alone as she feared. Through poems written in two, alternating voices, The Lake Michigan Mermaid is a story that seems at once both classic and modern; it offers no fairy-tale ending, yet it captivates us with its mysteries, magic, and hope.

– Meg Kearney, author of When You Never Said Goodbye

Readers who love Franny Billingsley's The Folk Keeper and Susan Cooper's The Selkie Girl will be delighted with The Lake Michigan Mermaid. It is a lyrical story for lovers of mermaids and water, for dreamy detectives, for wanderers and artists, for word-lovers and shell-collectors.

– Laura Williams McCaffrey, author of Alia Waking, Water Shaper, and Marked

An earthy, bittersweet fable, told in shimmering glimpses, of four hearts searching for connection -- with each other, and with what is beyond their understanding. Oomen and Foster weave their magical tale out of beach grass and ribbon, out of sorrow and joy, out of water, sand, and ice.

– Lynne Rae Perkins, Newbery-winning author of Criss Cross

No matter how many times we reach for it, The Lake Michigan Mermaid continues to open us into a world where water is always speaking and implores us to listen to the many voices flowing through its currents. This important and timely work, lyrically told and lovingly illustrated, has been honored as a 2019 Michigan Notable Book.

– Mary Ladany, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry 2019

  • 2018 Foreword INDIES Book Awards - Result: Finalist in the Poetry category
  • 2019 Michigan Notable Book Award - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually
  • 2019 da Vinci Eye from the Eric Hoffer Awards - Result: Finalist