Sensual Math

Sensual Math

by Alice Fulton
     
 

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Drawing upon science, myth, popular culture, feminist theory and autobiography, this collection of poems demonstrates Alice Fulton's poetic virtuosity.
The words exhilarating, powerful, generous, daring, and enchanting have been used to describe Alice Fulton's poetry. In Sensual Math, her broad-ranging intelligence continues to surprise and electrify. Drenched

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Overview

Drawing upon science, myth, popular culture, feminist theory and autobiography, this collection of poems demonstrates Alice Fulton's poetic virtuosity.
The words exhilarating, powerful, generous, daring, and enchanting have been used to describe Alice Fulton's poetry. In Sensual Math, her broad-ranging intelligence continues to surprise and electrify. Drenched with the beauties of perception and language, with syntactical stretch and give, Sensual Math embraces areas often excluded from poetry. Drawing upon science, myth, popular culture, feminist theory, and autobiography, Alice Fulton creates an entrancing and important postmodern poetics. In the sequence called "My Last TV Campaign," an advertising executive tries to apply the successful imitative strategies of nature to a context of consumerism. By reimagining the myth of Daphne and Apollo, another sequence dismantles attitudes surrounding rape and the ancient association of woman with nature and man with culture. Daphne becomes a composite of Amelia Earhart, Annie Oakley, Emily Dickinson, and Marianne Moore. A major work by a poet who has been called breathtakingly fluent, blessedly unpredictable, "Sensual Math" figures the world as a blend of Zen and Elvis, calculus and honey. The final triumph is that poems so profound can be so profoundly engaging.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her brilliant fourth collection, Fulton frequently echoes Emily Dickinson (``Because life's too short to blush/ I keep my blood tucked in''), suggesting in many ways that she may be Dickinson's post-modern heir. In a complex metaphorical alchemy, Fulton blends Elvis and orchids, TV ads and Greek mythology, sculpting these elements on the page with controlled language and her mastery of the lyric. ``My Last TV Campaign: A Sequence'' links commercials, poetry and theories of Darwin, concluding that ``the deep shape of everything is-/ tranvestism.'' Shape-shifting in nature and culture is cast in terms of gender in the long (a third the length of the book) final section, ``Give: A Sequence Reimaginging Daphne and Apollo.'' Here Fulton also employs word play and even an invented grammatical sign (``==,'' described variously as ``dash to the max'' and ``sutures that dissolve into the self'') to spin the myth of a spirited, absurdist, often hilarious, contemporary life. Images and themes reiterate and reform in these energetic and unassailably intelligent poems, so that the collection, taken as a whole, helps demystify Fulton's more visionary, difficult work. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Fulton, winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, reveals humor, intelligence, and an exquisite sense of language in her fourth collection. "For immersion see/`passion between.' See/opposite of serene. For synonym and homonym/see `rapt' and `wrapped.'" She also expresses a quirkiness that is peculiarly her own, partly stemming from her choice of subjects: how many writers poetize on advertising or on pigs about to be slaughtered? Fulton is best at circling around her subject before hitting home: "remember a quiver is a fist/of arrows and the arrows' case, their clothes./It is the weapon and the tremor,/the cause and the effect." To experience her sense of the absurd, check out some of her titles: "Elvis from the Waist Up," "A Little Heart to Heart with the Horizon," and "Bobbins, Formerly Bones." Almost all her poems celebrate change. Some poems are less successful, but Fulton's work could never be called dull or unintelligent. "What causes less comfort/than wonder?" she asks in "Wonder Bread." The answer: her poems. Recommended for most collections.-Doris Lynch, Bloomington P.L., Ind.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393314458
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/1988
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.30(d)

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