Sensual Math: Poems

Alice Fulton, Author
Alice Fulton, Author W. W. Norton & Company $17.95 (113p) ISBN 978-0-393-03750-0
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-393-31445-8
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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.)
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