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Felt: Poems Paperback – January 17, 2002

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Felt: Poems + Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry + The Nightingales of Troy
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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 overlongAless 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 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Among the best new books due out [in 2001] is one by Alice Fulton. -- Orlando Sentinel, Dennis Loy Johnson

Fulton's best book: it is at once accessible and ambitious, evasive and informative, consistently curious, and, yes, strongly felt. -- Publishers Weekly

Fulton's best book: it is at once accessible and ambitious, evasive and informative, consistently curious, and, yes, strongly felt. -- Publishers Weekly

Fulton's dense and daring work has amazed readers since the beginning.... -- Rain Taxi Review of Books, Eric Lorberer

Fulton's poems go to the heart. -- Ruminator Review, Kate Moos

[A] worthy and exciting sequel to Sensual Math and her other previous volumes. -- The Missouri Review, Marta Boswell

[F]etishistic, wildly associative, demonically apt and simply eloquent. -- Los Angeles Times Book Review, Carol Muske-Dukes

[M]any of the hard-won lessons of Fulton's earlier books come together in absolutely moving ways. -- The Ann Arbor Observer, Keith Taylor

[R]e-mixes the aesthetic into the "unaesthetic everything" to expose new possibilities for verbal art. -- Boston Review, Barbara Fischer

[T]he power of Fulton's verbal pyrotechnics is that they precisely animate these mutable, ever-changing states. -- The New York Times Book Review, Megan Harlan

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039332236X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393322361
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,790,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alice Fulton's Barely Composed (W.W. Norton) is the most recent of her nine books. She is the recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and has also received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation, Ingram Merrill Foundation, Michigan Society of Fellows, and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her book Felt was awarded the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress. This biennial poetry prize is given on behalf of the nation in recognition of the most distinguished book of poetry written by an American and published during the preceding two years. 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 poetry books include Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems, Sensual Math, Powers Of Congress, Palladium, and Dance Script With Electric Ballerina. An essay collection, Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry, was published by Graywolf Press.

Alice Fulton's ten stories have been collected in The Nightingales of Troy. Two of these stories, "A Shadow Table" and "Queen Wintergreen," have been selected by Alice Sebold and Louise Erdrich for the Best American Short Stories. "Happy Dust," was awarded the Editor's Prize in Fiction by The Missouri Review. "The Real Eleanor Rigby," was selected for the Pushcart Prize XXIX anthology. And "Queen Wintergreen" was also anthologized in Cabbage and Bones: An Anthology of Irish Women's Writing. The Nightingales of Troy was a New & Recommended selection by The Boston Globe; a Discoveries feature by The Los Angeles Times; and a Featured Books interview in The Irish Times. For extensive excerpts from published reviews, please visit alicefulton.com.

Fulton's poetry and fiction have appeared in both editions of The Best of the Best American Poetry, The Best American Short Stories, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology, as well as Tin House, Poetry, The New Yorker, Parnassus, The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other magazines. She is currently the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English at Cornell University and has taught at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, University of California, Berkeley, and UCLA, among other institutions.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Lloyd on February 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
From the opening poem "Close (Joan Mitchell's 'White Territory')" this book dives inside you and holds court until you assume its power. This astonishing range of poems can make sparks last for what seems an eternity. "Failure" conjures up images from Henry IV, Part One, while "The Fabula Rasa" delves into the author's past in radio broadcasting, as does "Warmth Sculpture." Stop reading this review and make the purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By frazzled on August 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I did not know this writer and so did not know what to expect when I purchased this book for a book club. I found that I and my former students all enjoyed it when I recommended it to them.
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