Flesh and Stone

Flesh and Stone Controlled Explosion Press, 2018
152 pages, £10
ISBN 978-0-9573474-7-2

Kilmartin Glen and Loch Craignish lie deep within the heart of Dalriada in Mid Argyll, an ancient land of mystery and ritual, silent power and haunting beauty. A world of ceremonial death and dark swirling currents. Graham Fulton first came here on holiday with his family in the 1960s, and he keeps coming back. Flesh and Stone is an illustrated poem which tries to capture the elusive magic of the area by creating two parallel journeys full of recurring voices, fractured rhythms, tumbling imagery and scrambled memory. Streams of humanity that dance and intersect until an end is found. An epic of long gone people who have left their traces of order and chaos. Footprints in the flow.

I read this book in one sitting, and I think that's how it should be experienced: as a single epic poem. The word 'hymn' springs to mind. Fulton plays on the idea of the absence of sound, of things barely formed. As we move through the poem, the language and imagery develop alongside the poet's exploration of how we communicate as individuals, and across the millennia. Loch Craignish and its watery depths appear like the unconscious from which objects and ideas emerge and are, in time, submerged. You cannot read Flesh and Stone without the sense of having been taken on a guided orbit, a circular journey that has you glancing back at your footprints.'

Tracy Patrick, author of 'Blushing is for Sinners'

Fulton has a way of letting experience run through him, of not being afraid of it, and of being able to turn it into words that are simple, charming, funny, yet simultaneously able to touch on what matters. One of his great virtues is his affinity for sensuous detail. The irregularly indented lines imitate the shape of thought, the spaces indicative of Fulton's willingness to allow thought to emerge. It is, in a fundamental way, what Emerson called "the sound of a man thinking". This is a remarkable work, sure to be ignored by most of the literary Establishment, but it has the feel of inevitability and the requisite sincerity of art which will ensure its endurance.'

Alan Dent, author of 'Entertaining Hypocrites: the playwriting of Joe Orton'

Graham Fulton Poetry From Scotland