Poetry teaches educator life lessons

When he’s not on the sports field
inspiring his students to play harder, run faster and throw farther, physical
education teacher and new dad Nolan Foster is a poet.

The qualified FIFA referee, having
been encouraged by colleagues and family to take his love of the written word
to the next level, has recently self-published his first book of poems: Light
to Darkness (and on the back cover Darkness to Light).

The 90-page book contains more than
80 poems, which cover the main themes of family and friends, love and relationships,
general thoughts gleaned from everyday life, and religion and spirituality. The
author said that the book’s title is a reference to life’s many contradictions
and our need to “embrace the duality inherent in the natural world”.

The catalyst for his ongoing
journey to express himself through poetry began when he started teaching.
Originally from St. Catherine, Jamaica, Mr. Foster has been writing poetry for
more than a decade. Not overly interested in the art form as a child, he began
wanting to write verse while interacting with his students. The George Hicks
Middle School teacher coaches students in Years 7 through 9 in a variety of
sports. “Learning about [my students], their hopes and motivations, through our
daily encounters, really jump started the whole thing,” Mr. Foster said.

Now that writing poetry is an
everyday part of his life, “inspiration comes to me at anytime,” he said.

“Sometimes I’ve got to get out of
bed to jot a few lines down before I forget them, or I can be stuck in traffic
and an idea comes to me… I feel restless until I’ve put them on paper.”

While he has already been published
in the Journal and the Sunday Gleaner, having a selection of his favourite
poems in print is very satisfying, he said.

Mr. Foster is now in negotiations
with a Cayman bookstore to stock Light to Darkness. Suitable for young adults
and mature readers, the poems are written in a number of different styles and

“Me and my wife are
off to Spain this summer to show our baby daughter, Noalani, to my in-laws,” he
said when asked if the vacation would be spent writing. “A couple of my newer
poems reflect some of the changes being a first-time parent has meant to our
lives. Poetry is so much a part of who I am now, it reflects on practically everything
I experience, either at school or with my
young family.”