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Felt
     

Felt

by Alice Fulton
 

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Winner of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress, chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Books of 2001, and as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

In this groundbreaking collection, Alice Fulton weds her celebrated linguistic freshness to a fierce emotional depth. Felt—a fabric made of

Overview

Winner of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress, chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Books of 2001, and as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

In this groundbreaking collection, Alice Fulton weds her celebrated linguistic freshness to a fierce emotional depth. Felt—a fabric made of tangled fibers—becomes a metaphor for the interweavings of humans, animals, and planet. But Felt is also the past tense of "feel." This is a book of emotions both ordinary and untoward: the shadings of humiliation, obsession, love, and loneliness—as well as states so subtle they have yet to be named. Reticent and passionate, elliptical yet available, Fulton's poems consider flaws and failure, touching and not touching. They are fascinated with proximity: the painter's closeness to the canvas, the human kinship with animals, the fan's nearness to the star. Privacy, the opening and closing of doors, is at the heart of these poems that sing the forms of solitude-the meanings and feelings of virginity, the single-mindedness of fetishism, the tragedy of suicide. Rather than accept the world as given, Fulton encounters invisible assumptions with magnitude and grace. Hers is a poetry of inconvenient knowledge, in which the surprises of enlightenment can be cruel as well as kind. Felt, a deeply imagined work, at once visceral and cerebral, illuminates the possibilities of twenty-first century poetry.

Editorial Reviews

Megan Harlan
[T]he power of Fulton's verbal pyrotechnics is that they precisely animate these mutable, ever-changing states.
The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A dizzying tapestry of essayistic, digressive and lyrical poems held together by a few symbols and obsessions, this "felt"is fabric and feeling, the colors white and gray, the "eco-speak" of botany and chemistry, the figure of Emily Dickinson, and the artistically laden symbols of a blank canvas and a fan. Fulton (Sensual Math) composes multi-page poems out of ever-expanding sentences, stretching her phrases like tightropes over the vast reaches of information: "Each line braves rejection/ of the every, edits restless/ all into a space that's still/ the space of least commitment, distilling/ latitudes in draft." The book's governing whites come to represent (among other things) fear, certainty, metaphysical absolutes, virginity, youth, and artistic perfection; these play off against the mixed shades of everyday life in works for which "nothing is separate, the entire planet/ being an unexpected example." In "About Music for Bone and Membrane Instrument" a fan's "pink folds and pleats,/ handheld compressions, corrugations of/ recluse, release" stands for the twists and turns in Fulton's own lines; "It isn't simplicity that epiphanizes me" (she writes elsewhere), "it's/ saturation." A poem about Joan Mitchell's painting White Territory stands out for its subtlety and seriousness; memorable elegies for a female relative (perhaps the speaker's mother) find Fulton having "to feel// the unaesthetic everything twist through my head." As before, Fulton's works sometimes seem stagy or overlong--less composed than performed, with both eyes on her audience; nevertheless, this may be Fulton's best book: it is at once accessible and ambitious, evasive and informative, consistently curious, and, yes, strongly felt. (Jan.) Forecast: A Macarthur "genius" grant winner who has long taught at the University of Michigan, Fulton's position in the poetry world seems assured. The book may be handsold to fans of Anne Carson and Graham; a career-assessing review in a major publication would broaden Fulton's audience. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393079524
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
02/15/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
104
File size:
413 KB

Meet the Author

Alice Fulton’s honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Fulton is the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English at Cornell University and lives in Ithaca, New York.

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