Born in 1952 in Troy, New York, Alice Fulton attended Catholic schools in her hometown. She began writing poetry during the 1970’s. In 1978, she earned a bachelor of arts degree in creative writing from Empire State College in Albany, New York, and, in 1982, a master of fine arts degree from Cornell University, where she studied with A. R. Ammons. She married artist Hank De Leo in 1980.
In 1983, she became an assistant professor of English at the University of Michigan, where she remained until 2001. Fulton has also been a visiting professor of creative writing at Vermont College; the University of California, Los Angeles; Ohio State University; and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. During the 1990’s, Fulton served as a judge for many poetry prizes, including the National Book Award, the Lamont Poetry Selection, the Akron Poetry Prize, and the Walt Whitman Award. In 2002, she joined the faculty of Cornell University, becoming the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English in 2004.
Alice Fulton has often been called the postmodern heir of Emily Dickinson, thanks to her fresh use of diction and technical elements and her astute consideration of complex subject matter in her poetry. She is a native of Troy, New York, the daughter of John R. Fulton, a businessman, and Mary (Callahan) Fulton, a nurse. In June of 1980, she married the artist Hank DeLeo. Fulton received her B.A. degree from the State University of New York, Empire State College, in 1979 and her M.F.A. in 1982 from Cornell University. Her career as a student at both institutions was marked by awards and scholarships, including a Sage Graduate Fellowship at Cornell.
While at Cornell, Fulton studied with the poet and critic A. R. Ammons, who deeply influenced her work. Ammons encouraged her to see the creative value in imperfection, which provided a healthy counterpoint to Fulton’s perfectionist tendencies. It was Ammons who suggested to Fulton that it is those moments when balance is lost that are interesting moments. The title work of Fulton’s first full-length collection, Dance Script with Electric Ballerina, is an example of a poem that explores this theme. The book won the Associated Writing Program Award in 1982 and was reissued by University of Illinois in 1996.
During her undergraduate years in the late 1970’s, Fulton worked briefly as an advertising copywriter in New York City. After gaining her M.F.A., she began a residency at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, she accepted a position at the University of Michigan, where she taught in the creative writing department for nineteen years, ultimately achieving the rank of full professor. At Michigan, she received the Henry Russel Award for promise of distinction in writing and excellence in teaching, an Excellence in Research Award, and two individual grants in literature from the Michigan Council for the Arts. She was also awarded the William Wilhartz endowed chair for junior faculty. While teaching at Michigan, she also served as visiting professor of creative writing at Vermont College (1987) and the University of California (1991).
The critically acclaimed Dance Script with Electric Ballerina was...