Nothing But reveals the disruptions—welcome or unsettling—to our stream of consciousness that occur when we encounter the unexplainable. In these poems, such suspensions of linear thought become a beckoning toward transcendence, an opening both deeper into, and out beyond, our perceptions in an otherwise prescribed world.
This is a ground-breaking book that boldly traverses the heretofore ignored gold mine of abstract painting as a source, succeeding as it does in its venture to see beyond an immediately recognizable narrative in which ‘a story could stumble out of here / unrecognizable as a wanderer from a blizzard / snow blind.’ In Nothing But, Fogel leads her reader into vital new ways of ‘seeing’ that translates as it muses, enlightens as it divines. With a parallax vision that combines her knowledgeable, complex ‘eye’ for both craft and aesthetic appeal, Fogel instructs her reader on how to appreciate abstract expression in both visual and emotional ways, to the point where ‘our eyes hurt when we look away.’ I can think of no other book like it.
—Chard deNiord, former poet laureate of Vermont and author of In My Unknowing
In this luminous collection, Alice Fogel orchestrates a rich exploration of the nature of abstraction and meets us ‘at the curbed / diversions of the eventful.’ These breathtaking poems seem paintings themselves—and their shades, their layers and scrapings and frames, intensify even as they fragment, recall even as they reinvent. Nothing But speaks to us of immediacy, wakes us and prods us and recreates the mind’s particular journeys. These are mystical portraits of our pains and victories, much-needed remedies as we endure the ‘encoreless rehearsal’ of this life.
—Jennifer Militello, author of The Pact
Alice B Fogel was the New Hampshire poet laureate from 2014-2019. She is the author of five previous volumes of poetry, including A Doubtful House and Interval: Poems Based on Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” which won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature and the New Hampshire Literary Award. Her book Strange Terrain is a guide to appreciating poetry without necessarily “getting” it. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, among other awards, her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry. In addition to her freelance reading and writing workshops, she provides academic support for students with learning differences at Landmark College, and hikes mountains whenever possible.