poem index


Alice Fulton

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Alice Fulton was born and raised in Troy, New York. She received a BA from Empire State College in 1978 and an MFA from Cornell University in 1982.

Her books of poetry include Barely Composed (W. W. Norton, 2015); Felt (W. W. Norton, 2002), which was awarded the 2002 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; Palladium (University of Illinois Press, 1986), which received the 1985 National Poetry Series and the 1987 Society of Midland Authors Award; and Dance Script with Electric Ballerina (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), which received the 1982 Associated Writing Programs Award. She is also the author of a collection of short stories, The Nightingales of Troy (W. W. Norton, 2008), and a collection of prose, Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry (Graywolf Press, 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.

Fulton’s 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. 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.

She is the recipient of an American Academy of arts and Letters Award in Literature and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Michigan Society of Fellows, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. 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; Sarabande Books, 2001)
Palladium (University of Illinois, 1986)
Dance Script With Electric Ballerina (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983) 

The Nightingales of Troy (W. W. Norton, 2008)
Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry (Graywolf Press, 1999)

by this poet


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


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,