The poems in Christina Fulton’s exquisite debut collection, To the Man in the Red Suit, are ruminations on a life of the ironic, the beautiful, the poignant, and the bitter-sweet. Prominent among the memories that are fuel for the fire of these poems are the poet’s childhood in New Jersey and the suicide of her workaholic father. My favorite poem, an ode called “To My Father’s Confused and Empty Desk,” ends with the perfectly adroit enjambment of lines:
He only came back
to count your rings,
and kiss the scissors
Sometimes these pretty poems soothe, sometimes they sting, sometimes they fill your mouth with precious stones that you cannot chew but break your teeth on trying. The poet uses no clichés but masterfully creates them: ‘I saw your lies bend’; ‘That imperfect field / where Jesus / taught the lilies to blush’; ‘You can jiggle / but can you bend?’ Long after you read this book, you will be quoting from it.
To the Man in the Red Suit by Christina Fulton. Rootstock Publishing, May 2020.
Reviewer bio: Preston L. Allen is a recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship and author of the novels Jesus Boy, All or Nothing, and Every Boy Should Have a Man. He lives in South Florida.