OverviewWinner:12th New Hampshire Literary Award, PoetryIn this series of poems responding to Johann Sebastian Bach's spectacular "Goldberg Variations," New Hampshire State Poet Laureate Alice B. Fogel has paid homage to a 274-year-old masterpiece and, with the theme of spirit and embodiment that music—and life itself—evoke, has rendered from it a luminous new interpretation. Bach created the Goldbergs' 32 sections using nearly all the styles of western European music at the time; Fogel responds in kind with a range of contemporary poetic styles, including narrative, lyric, and experimental, all confined within the 32-line structure she has borrowed from the composer's 32-bar format. Interval mimics the "baroque" effects of overlapping melodies and harmonies by layering sound, syntax, and sense in multiple voices exploring self, identity, and being. In capturing the essence of this iconic masterpiece, through these poems Fogel has created her own music.
Reviews"The marvelous specificities of her poems demonstrate a fierce and admirable passion . . . with a steadfast gaze at the natural world as intense and perfectly rendered as that of Rilke's panther." —Publishers Weekly on Be That Empty
"Fogel's perspective fascinates . . . has its own concrete effect on the heart." —David Mehegan, Boston Globe, on Be That Empty
"Twines the themes of complicated subjects, often in mesmerizing form." —Robert Hass, Washington Post, on Be That Empty
"The intricacy of Fogel's forms, the complexity of the variations and the voices make for challenging, if impressive reading . . . This is a beautiful book." —Deb Baker, "The Mindful Reader," unionleader.com
"I did it again the next night, and then more than occasionally, branching out . . . into Alice B. Fogel's Interval as well. They were just enough, those poems, they perfectly occupied the space I had at the time for words and thought, and now I want more." —KJ Dell'Antonia, New York Times parenting blogger, "The Motherlode"
Author BiographyAlice B. Fogel is the poet laureate of New Hampshire and works both as a teacher of creative writing at Keene State College and as an academic support tutor at Landmark College. She is the author of three poetry collections: Be That Empty, a National Poetry Foundation bestseller, and Strange Terrain: A Poetry Handbook for the Reluctant Reader. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and has been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Acworth, New Hampshire.