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June 20 , 2009

Felt: Poems


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.

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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.
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