The Sugar Borders

By William Fuller


O Books
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Leslie Scalapino
Design by Larry Price
Edition, Year
First Edition, 1993
In Print

In The Sugar Borders, William Fuller creates a flat space of “middles” which is everywhere, “the cave of all.” The viewer is up so close seeing oneself that one’s / its “wet muscles repose there.” As if one hallucinates oneself having a dream, one sees oneself who’s any viewer being the “natural world” where “we” fly and “pigeons sit down to their meal, without bodies.” This writing puts pressure on its space to view realistically by its “flat/objective” approach with no view that proscribes or “understands”: “The upper part of the world lives on an island, fishing in flames.”


William Fuller
William Fuller is an American poet who was born in 1953 in Barrington, Illinois. He received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia in 1983 and published his first full-length book, Byt, ... Read More

[Poetry] for me has to take on a life that stands apart from the materials; despite the apparently private nature of the references, it has to earn its independence, to go abroad as Plato said (negatively) of writing, unsupported by the uttering presence, but open to all the contingent effects of minds and time.

— William Fuller interview at Flood Editions


Praise for The Sugar Borders

At first it sounded like a saying we once knew, like some down-home, homespun affair, like saying we must’ve grown up in another childhood, maybe a life where we live in some interstellar Midwest, on a dream-farm or ranch, where local people have constellation-raisings and quilting dragonflies. Down there on the sugar borders, their stories engraved so succinctly in the riverbed or Milky Way they’re almost erased, lore in three-part harmony worn away with tender use like maps of airs, song hovering between the page and the eye, the hand and the mind. “Feed your heart to the rotting mind.” And he does, and we do. Words fall into place, a progressive past tense charting action from its sometimes ominous further reaches to the more immediate almost-present, and where is the future in ritual observation? Does it cast a shadow, leave an echo? Love and the letter of love. But what is the nature of this space between dream, wind, dinner, color and the alphabet? It’s our birthday everyday, and “We each get an earth to eat…” in the telescopic syntax of these Sugar Borders. Sugar borders terror where the iridescent dust of verse begins to shake a darker spell out of the bundled predicates. You want to keep opening this book, and opening it.

— Norma Cole

If you need to read, take a look at this book.

— Tom Raworth

…imagery as perverse and baffling as that constructed in dreams, echoed in folktales and children’s rhymes, circulated as magic and superstition… These are poems which create the conditions for an experience of “negative capability.” Yes. Small and terrific reversals and contradictions, untenanted space looming through the rifts of images. “I see your bones, your bones see me.”

— Beverly Dahlen

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