poem index


Alice Fulton

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Born on January 25, 1952, Alice Fulton was raised in Troy, New York. Her books of poetry include Barely Composed (W. W. Norton, 2015); Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2004); and Felt (W. W. Norton, 2002), which was awarded the 2002 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress. Felt also was selected by the Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Books of 2001 and as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her other books include Sensual Math (W. W. Norton, 1995); Powers of Congress (Godine, 1990); Dance Script with Electric Ballerina (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), winner of the 1982 Associated Writing Programs Award; and Palladium (University of Illinois Press, 1982), winner of the 1985 National Poetry Series and the 1987 Society of Midland Authors Award. A collection of prose, Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry, was published by Graywolf Press in 1999. Her work has been included in five editions of The Best American Poetry series and in the The Best of the Best American Poetry, 1988-1997.

Her work has been adapted several times for musical and theatrical productions. Anthony Cornicello's ...turns and turns into the night, a setting of four poems from Sensual Math, premiered at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in February 2001. The 2003 World Premiere of Enid Sutherland's complete setting of "Give: A Sequence Reimagining Daphne & Apollo" took place at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan. William Bolcom's setting of "How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around" was first performed  by Marilyn Horne at Carnegie Hall's Centennial Celebration. Turbulence: A Romance, a song cycle with music by William Bolcom and words by Alice Fulton, debuted at the Walker Art Center in 1997.

She has received fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Michigan Society of Fellows, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is currently the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English at Cornell University.

Selected Bibliography


Barely Composed (W. W. Norton, 2015)
Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems (W.W. Norton, 2004)
Felt (W. W. Norton, 2002)
Sensual Math (W. W. Norton, 1995)
Powers Of Congress (Godine, 1990)
Dance Script With Electric Ballerina (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983)
Palladium (University of Illinois, 1982)


Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry (Graywolf Press, 1999)

by this poet


A gift is a risk. Let roses be the prodrome.
It’s like it dropped a gold and a silver

ring with its name on it
in my brain. That was the gift

before the storm. It sent you a stumbling
block. Just scribble yes or no

on the form. Now every time the doorbell
rings I think someone’

Because life's too short to blush,
I keep my blood tucked in.
I won't be mortified
by what I drive or the flaccid
vivacity of my last dinner party.
I take my cue from statues posing only
in their shoulder pads of snow: all January
you can see them working on their granite tans.

That I woke at an ungainly hour,

Many see a flutterby when they look into this

omniscience I see as a skinniness too densely drawn
or a mystery unhinged by its own symmetry, a twinning
I think of as a listener that thinks along
with me, fused in a tweed, a red herring-
bone weave in the dazzling darkness