Carol Weston, a well-respected poet on the Boston poetry scene for many years invited me to a dinner recently at the India Pavilion in Central Square, and for a Stone Soup poetry reading at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge, Mass curated by Chad Parenteau. The person of interest of the evening was Peter Fulton. Fulton, a man in his 60’s, is a laid back presence, but as we all know still waters run deep and in Fulton’s case very deep.
Fulton, was an English major at Boston University in the early 70’s, but later got his degree in law from Suffolk University in Boston. But early on he had the inclination for poetry and music. In the mid-sixties he sang in Boston coffeehouses like the Sword and Stone on Charles Street on Beacon Hill ( At one time known as Beatnick Hill), and other venues.
Fulton was born and raised in Mass., and attended the Mt. Herman School in Western, Mass. After listening to Dylan Thomas’ performUnder Milkwood he decided to create his first verse drama Death of a Worn Man. The play dealt with his grandfather who for years was a fisherman and became burnt out, eventually giving up on his life. It was extremely well-received, and this gave the young writer the impetus to continue with his writing.
During his time at Mt. Herman Fulton fell under the spell of the sculptor McAlister Coleman, who had a long teaching career at Endicott College. Fulton, who had many long conversations with his mentor Coleman, was asked by the older man “ How do you carve an elephant?” Fulton was stumped for an answer, but Coleman answered for him: “You take everything that is not an elephant.” Later conversations dealt with how to carve an angel, among other creative concerns.
Later Fulton collaborated on a book of poetry and sculpture with Coleman titled: Figures in the Garden of Glen Magna. But the carving an angel idea stayed in his head. He eventually published a book that consisted of his one long poem How to Carve an Angel with a press in Wales, UK headed by Peter Thabit Jones, The Seventh Quarry Press. The title of the work you ask? Why of course: How to Carve an Angel.It is accompanied by a CD that puts music to his poem. The poem is in English , but also translated into Russian by Tatiana Baeva.
Fulton has performed his work at the International Poetry Festival in Wales in June 2012, as well at the famous Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Harvard Square, the Robert Frost Farm, and the Rockport, Mass. library to name a few venues.
How to Carve an Angel deals with the last few moments of a sculptor’s life. In the introduction to the book Peter Thabiat Jones writes:
The main narrative voice is questioning, informative and loaded with integrity. The poem gains and sustains the reader’s attention, as it unfolds into a storyline of the death of a sculptor in a hospital bed. His physical and spiritual transformation is moving, almost elegiac at times, and totally uplifting.
Jones quotes the ending of this lengthy poem ( Fulton told me it takes 23 minutes to read) that has a lilting, terminal beauty:
The voice searches me
in distant, missing woods.
my being resounds
with the reunion of who I am
and who I have been;
who my ancestors will be in my progeny.
The voice speaks in strange tongues
whose meaning cannot be explained
Calling my worlding Come! Come!
Fulton is off again to Wales, but tells me he will be having readings in the near future in the area. Make a point to catch his performance of poetry and music!