Section: Arts

Poet Fuller to speak today

By David Hoyt | Chief Copy Editor

“Don’t be alarmed if … it doesn’t present itself clearly upon first reading. Or second reading, or third reading. Lose yourself in the mystery.”

That’s what the poet William Fuller said when asked about how best to approach his work. Those up for the challenge of tackling poetry that has been intermittently called dense, elusive and “grammatically restless” can hear Fuller read from his upcoming collection Playtime today at 4:10 p.m. in the Cheever Room of Finn House.

The event, sponsored by the Kenyon Review, is Fuller’s first at Kenyon since 2011, when he read from his collections Hallucination and Quorum. Fuller said his work in Playtime is “an extension of what I was doing in Hallucination — primarily prose poems. … I’ve always alternated between short line verse, that goes along at a fast clip, and … short prose meditations.”

Fuller completed a PhD dissertation at the University of Virginia on Sir Thomas Browne, and his work contains intricate references to such diverse topics as economics, natural science and 17th-century Neo-Platonism. According to Fuller, his work has “been compared to … the metaphysical poets,” including John Donne.

“Whether that’s true or not is another question; I’m not equipped to judge that,” he added.

Besides his distinguished literary pedigree, Fuller, who is the father of Jeremy Fuller ’14, has a rather incongruous day job. He is the chief fiduciary officer of a major Chicago bank, an occupation that both contrasts with and influences his poetry. Fittingly, much of his writing is done on the train, as he commutes into and out of the financial world.

“I’m notorious for it. They know me in my car,” he said. “It’s a daily habit.”

Several of Fuller’s collections are available from Flood Editions, a Chicago publisher co-founded by Michael O’Leary ’93. Playtime will be released by Flood later this year.

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