Competition Ends 1st October 2020 6:38pm

Roar Shack

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Poetry Contest

Classic Corner: Alice Fulton Tribute

Co-Hosts - Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze

Welcome back to the Classic Corner Competitions, Part XXXIII, in an ongoing series introducing serious writers of DUP to the most famous classical and modern poets of our time.

Alice Fulton was born and raised in Troy, New York. She received a BA from Empire State College in 1978 and an MFA from Cornell University in 1982.

Her books of poetry include Barely Composed (W. W. Norton, 2015); Felt (W. W. Norton, 2002), which was awarded the 2002 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; Palladium (University of Illinois Press, 1986), which received the 1985 National Poetry Series and the 1987 Society of Midland Authors Award; and Dance Script with Electric Ballerina (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), which received the 1982 Associated Writing Programs Award. She is also the author of a collection of short stories, The Nightingales of Troy (W. W. Norton, 2008), and a collection of prose, Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry (Graywolf Press, 1999). Her work has been included in five editions of The Best American Poetry series and in the The Best of the Best American Poetry, 1988-1997.

Fulton’s work has been adapted several times for musical and theatrical productions. Anthony Cornicello’s ...turns and turns into the night, a setting of four poems from Sensual Math, premiered at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The 2003 World Premiere of Enid Sutherland’s complete setting of “Give: A Sequence Reimagining Daphne & Apollo” took place at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan. William Bolcom’s setting of “How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around” was first performed  by Marilyn Horne at Carnegie Hall’s Centennial Celebration. Turbulence: A Romance, a song cycle with music by William Bolcom and words by Alice Fulton, debuted at the Walker Art Center.

Alice Fulton has been the George Elliston Poet at University of Cincinnati, the Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in the Practice of Poetry at University of California, Berkeley, The Michael M. Rea Visiting Writer at University of Virginia, and a Visiting Professor at University of California, Los Angeles, Ohio State University, and the University of North Carolina. She is currently the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English at Cornell University.

For more information, please visit her website at


—Write a new ( non-previously posted ) poem honoring Fulton inspired by any one of her poems.

—Do NOT copy paste your poem to the competition, it must be linked to your page with the below information.

—Do your best to make us feel as though we are reading poems by Fulton. The more we feel you "capturing her essence" in "your own words" , the higher you will score. This will involve choice of wording, delivery, subject material, formatting, target audience, ambiguity - a wide range of factors.    

The Rules

1. Two entries per DUP persona.    

2. No extreme erotica; this is open to all ages and can't be viewed with an ECW ( Extreme Content Warning ).    

3. No exact word limit; however, attempt to keep it no more than 250 - 300 ( UNLESS the inspirational poem is longer ).

4. Any form is acceptable ( but studying the poet is advised ). This includes visual and spoken word pieces.    

5. You must select #AliceFulton in your themes. The theme page will automatically generate as soon as eight entrants hashtag the theme. Make sure you hashtag her in your themes or you will be disqualified.

6. In your Author's note, provide the poem title ( even if the title of your poem is the same as Fulton's ) as well as a link to the poem ( not website ) by Fulton that inspired yours. Without this, we have no way of determining if you were truly inspired by Fulton, or simply swapped fresh words into her existing poetry and form, which could be considered plagiarism.

7. You may edit your entry up until the moment the competition closes and is locked for judging.

Comp will be judged by Ahavati & JohnnyBlaze. As in the past and in the event there is a tie, we will call in third ( and possibly fourth, as in last month's case ) judge.

You have one month; best of luck to all entrants!

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 20th Mar 2015
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These Fractacular Lives of Yours and Mine

plus verse
plus more verse
grows ever subversive
as printing of once steady hand  
gives way to chaotic cursive's stead 

What fractacular poetry!

And the pollened text accrues
as it continues flowering long
after each prized [in]carnation    
you choose to be[e] is stemmed
---subtracted from this wondrous

Written by JohnnyBlaze
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 7566


( After Alice Fulton )      
I once had reason to fear        
humans in general—          
people are people, individual        
as their unpredictable demeanor          
regardless of upbringing          
I've experienced them        
in farmhouse pigsties        
to Buckingham Palace—        
often unable to tell a difference        
aside from clothes or conduct.            
I once observed various groups        
in a museum:          
The elite, social ladies        
with diamonds and emeralds          
capturing the light from paintings;          
shining status symbols, sailing        
in an ocean of titanium white teeth—        
ornately framed islands of color          
drowning in dirty martinis        
and stoles of long-dead mink.          
The middle-class, parents        
their children in tow, controlled        
mannerisms dictated by rules—        
deep furrows across their brow:          
college tuition, savings, glasses, braces—        
societal expectations outweighing relaxation.          
The elderly, taking their time        
sipping beauty as though holy water        
offered during a drought          
from a golden goblet—        
threadbare raiment veiling skin        
cracked by elements; their faces          
angelic in appreciation: Michelangelo        
Matisse, Chagall, Van Gogh.       
The lonely, solo navigators          
circling some dreamy landscape          
of harvested wheat, or starry night          
over a provincial café          
Forlorn eyes having dissolved        
into brush strokes of cobalt blue        
yellow ochre, resurrected cadmium hues—        
memories of unrequited love        
relived over and over in a heart        
unwilling to let go.           
Then, her—        
there, red coat over sensible shoes;          
a second-hand bag, draped          
across an upright shoulder, simple        
updo complimenting  high cheekbones          
lightly touched with rouge. Her eyes          
shimmering greater than emeralds          
off-set by diamonds, having survived          
loneliness alone, she now eschews        
the in-crowd with a polite nod, drifting          
chin up—a compassionate zephyr          
gliding about the gallery as fresh air          
for those who couldn't breathe.          
I innately knew, at age eight        
she was exactly who I wanted to emulate—        
and I, shy and insecure, smiled regardless        
when she playfully navigated about me          
and winked.          
Written by Ahavati
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Fire of Insight
United States
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Joined 20th Mar 2015
Forum Posts: 196

Industrious Annalise

Let them talk about making this nation
great again as if it was some truck tire  
worn down to its radial under armor    
ready for retread in the tire department  
next building over from where we worked.  
The harness of solidarity we erected    
remains buckled. We were the welding
that held everything together by sweat,
blood, and tears. We were America    
And still are, even after labor pains
of being strong-armed during contractual  
obligations around every corner  
---becoming well heeled regarding miles  
of concrete and iron catwalks hiked,    
but hardly as far as insurance benefits  
and pursed billfolds where it counted,    
And there were no leaves of absence  
when it came to leaves of abstinence  
as one unplanned on getting pregnant;  
you could always count on women    
getting shafted upon shafted.  
Let me tell you how it was --- enough  
anguish was channeled into the rubber  
plant's production line floor that glass  
ceilings cracked with every impact  
of our feet being put down hard.  
Not without backbiting resistance,  
mind you. Butch. Dyke. Lesbo. Name it.  
They labeled us -- designated unfit    
to work along side for the same pay  
and definitely for dating by such great  
American specimens of men    
who demonstrated all the Olympian  
capacity of beer kegs in form,  
function, and usefulness.  
We endured the unlubricated jeers  
nonstop, sometimes from behind,  
but mostly right up in our faces  
---I guess being spare-ribbed equals,  
we were meant to take the thrusts  
of their fear driven anger like men,  
if not the queers they secretly feared    
would eventually topple Heterotopia.  
Yet they sure loved their girl-on-girl porn  
if the girls on the girls in the girlie mags  
were airbrushed into flawless perfection,  
looking glorious in frilly lingeries ...  
And I guess I don't blame them;  
overalls do little to accentuate figures  
without God's plumping ass'istance    
and grease giving complexions fits.  
On my days off, I was about as sexy  
as Gloria Steinem in a gunny sack dress  
---more hip deep into Gloria Jeans---  
my lunch pail thermos was emptied    
with a cigerette or two by morning's  
fifteen minute break.    
Not vain about my appearance,  
letting low self esteem and complex    
be cause to quit punching the clock,  
instead I chose to punch a few assholes  
during my time at Firestone.  
As for Annalise ...  
Damn. How badly I wanted to hit that    
broad when she was hired on in 1975.    
Boy, she really rubbed me the wrong way.  
Bossy --- always micro-managing. Anal
was an understatement.  
So much so, the gals called her Anal-lise    
her first month on the floor. Ha! I can laugh  
about it now, but refused to back then  
---that would have made me no better  
than the men with their insults.  
Anna and I finally entered the union  
officially having swapped rings at City Hall  
seven years ago. I guess you could say,  
shortly after we were acquainted,    
she grew on me in girl-on-girl fashion;    
never was I into women until having laid  
eyes on her for the first time.    
She died last March from complications  
due to the Covid-19. I always told her  
to give up smoking --- which we both did,  
but a few years too late, I guess;    
her lungs were a mess by then  
and these last couple of years on oxygen  
were quite a drag on her spirit.  
Underneath the rigid aluminum clipboard,  
Anna was always my fresh of breath air  
in that insufferable nine-to-five armpit.    
And now she's gone, just like the America    
that was so supposedly so fucking great    
until black men and women started  
running for President.  
Written by MaryWalker
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Thought Provoker
United Kingdom
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Joined 24th Mar 2019
Forum Posts: 243

lemon yellow grass

lemon yellow grass
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Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
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Joined 1st Jan 2018
Forum Posts: 431

Quasimodo dilemma

His hands clasped over his ears    
as they called the rich and poor to prayer,
crying for the pain to stop
from the ore when it was cast    
in the foundry as molten metal splashed.  
Did god condone each single burn  
weary hands as they hammered it to pitch,  
 It will strike just like a torch  
the flame of music at its source,    
reverberating like dirt upon the coffin's lid.  
A liturgy,  a clean unsoiled handkerchief  
torn with the frequency of pinking shears.  
The bell ringer counts the score  
in black shroud or bridal white,  
the murmur of how beautiful she looks:    
confetti or a wilting wreath;  
a crown of thorns do we pay heed?    
The campanologist locked in the peel  
stand in the unbroken ring  
spell out as each pull the devil fights.  
Did the capper ever lie, fake the hammers strike? 
This is life: this is wrong, this is right; its song  
town crier, shout Oyez! Oyez!  
 madness be but a chime away  
in towers of suspended isolation.  
 Grip to weather all the changes  
mingled, are tangled ropes of concern's discord;  
harbinger of frailty, they flood and spill  
in foreign tongue the sentinel ?  
Moments  unproofed,  its message oft misunderstood.  
The doorbell chimes, a solemn constable  
stands with saddened eyes;  
a crook just to herd us sheep,    
supplication, joy, or mourning voice from the belfry.  
Loud chimes or tinkles of humanity  
Nortra-Dame's hunchback is the baggage that we carry;  
tinnitus no mind can parry    
Written by slipalong
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 7566

Thank you, nomoth and slip.

To the rest: I KNOW she's tough. Fulton is in a unique class of her own. As I've tried to explain in messages from those who don't feel they have what it takes to brave her; you're wrong. You DO have what it takes. Push yourself, step out of that box of fear, and try. The honor is in the attempt.

Dangerous Mind
United States
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Joined 22nd July 2019
Forum Posts: 10

Suffocation of Marriage

So desperate to please you,  
quantity over quality, fearing loss,  
sensual in thought but,  
more mechanical in reality  
the love is still there  
where passion is not.
Your spirit’s essence  
creates imagined warmth.
For as much as I long for your company,  
I’m relieved when we part.
The mental jenga which  
wreaks havoc in mind and body,  
leaves anguished sentence fragments  
when we attempt to reconcile.
What was once unified,  
was singularly envisaged
I felt free together,  
you did not  
you storaged yourself.
What would you do differently if apart  
we went our separate paths?
Your most cherished compliment  
was I saved you  
from being alone.
Self implosion would have  
yielded the same result  
alas hindsight. Where to go from here?
Successes and failures are manageable,  
all is forgiven, all is not tolerated.
Like the Nile River we’ll continue upstream.
Against all odds and all arguments,  
until death do us ~ in.

Written by Honoria
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
Forum Posts: 7566

* Clarification on the Guidelines & Rules *

Yes; you can edit your entry up to the minute the comp closes, and is locked for judging. I'll revise the initial post to reflect such.

Dangerous Mind
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Joined 29th July 2018
Forum Posts: 254

A Dark War

I know a man with camouflaged
mind, gun-stock resting somewhere    
between lies of patriarchal privilege    
and the body of a dead    
child, marred by indiscretions of    
lesser men. Miniature legs    
and arms spilled over assumed    
lines drawn in thick heat of desert    
swarm, heaved with heavy heart to the    
doorstep of a farmer, a father, a man    
with no recourse; nothing but unfathomable    
grief and a rake to shake in the    
face of God. Democracy, a    
misapplied ideation rooted in soil    
of offshore inhabitants, willing to eat    
at tables overflowing with    
stars and stripes, while the rest of    
humanity, mouth agape, wrestles    
against blind cries of hate and    
freedom. A broken soldier returned    
from caves and caverns, unable or    
unwilling to bask in welcome-home    
glory. He saw with eyes to see    
the indecency of what men do.
Written by Eerie
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th July 2012
Forum Posts: 1158

Sting of Consciousness

I have a hard time understanding anti-maskers
when they claim their rights
are being fringed upon,
it’s somewhere along the lines
of anti-vaxxers, it just sounds wrong.

I know everyone is entitled to their own views,
but it seems that lately
we’re an individualistic society,
people will believe the lies
and ignore the truth
simply because it’s easier.

Then again, selfishness, like greed, is a disease,
it slowly tears away
at the fabric of humanity,
it’s manifested in anger
with hatred and ignorance,
devouring the world like a plague.

This pestilence takes lives without judgement,
it's an indiscriminate selection
and unnatural evolution,
hopefully in time,
they too will see the light,
before it gives out in the end.
Written by wallyroo92
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Dangerous Mind
United States
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Joined 30th June 2016
Forum Posts: 363

Rearview Mirror With Baby Shoes

As if unwilling to sit still
they hung there, swaying;
soles still clean, undented, unperforated.
Peering over the tall, red dashboard
I was a mole in a moving hideaway
carried forward unwittingly,
the past still front and center.
How could he have ever fit
Into those shoes, I thought,
they were doll-sized.  
Suddenly he became a life-sized doll  
on the horizon as if waiting for us to arrive,
wind-blasted and beyond compliance.
'What took you so long?', his tiny lips muttered,
'I am outgrowing myself as you roll away
from me'. I steered the quandry

Into his plushy babble, his eyes wide and blue.
The only thing that seemed to move  
were the shoes, yet not toward or away
but in oscillation.
The odometer read the many hundreds
of miles traveled as we sat and watched them
bobbing along. And where  
Had the years gone, they bobbed
gently away in the rearview mirror
of the hulking transport that was
the family car.
The tiny cries became echoes
fading into the clicks of a V8 engine
as the shoes kept running
with the odometer into a marathon
of secrets concealed under the hood
with a slowly corroding radiator
and a cranky carburetor.
We sat cradled in the soft, crinkled
leather seats in suspension,  
coasting above the rocky road.
The wrinkled seats were more
worn than the baby shoes
would ever become.
Written by PoetsRevenge
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