J. Bruce Fuller

J. Bruce Fuller (Poetry) | Stanford, CA

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J. Bruce Fuller is a Louisiana native, and is currently a 2016-2018 Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. His chapbooks include The Dissenter’s Ground (Hyacinth Girl Press 2016), Notes to a Husband (Imaginary Friend Press 2013), Lancelot (Lazy Mouse Press 2013), 28 Blackbirds at the End of the World (Bandersnatch Books 2010), and Flood which is the winner of the 2013 Swan Scythe Chapbook Contest. He is the co-editor of Vision/Verse 2009-2013: An Anthology of Poetry (Yellow Flag Press 2013). His poems have appeared at Crab Orchard Review, Harpur Palate, Pembroke Magazine, The Louisiana Review, burntdistrict, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Louisiana Literature, among others. He is the editor and publisher of Yellow Flag Press. He received a MFA from McNeese and a PhD from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Edited Anthologies

Vision/Verse 2009-2013: An Anthology of Poetry (Yellow Flag Press 2013). [Editor] Anthology. Poetry.


  • The Dissenter’s Ground (Hyacinth Girl Press 2017). Poetry.
  • Flood (Swan Scythe Press 2013). Poetry.
  • Notes to a Husband (Imaginary Friend Press 2013). Poetry. [sold out]
  • Lancelot (Lazy Mouse Press 2013). Poetry. [sold out]
  • 28 Blackbirds at the End of the World (Bandersnatch Books 2010). Poetry. [sold out]

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

Two historic Louisiana floods form the content of this chapbook: the Great Flood of 1927, when the Mississippi River levee was dynamited at Caernarvon to save New Orleans but drown the rural poor, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At times J. Bruce Fuller’s words have the force of millions of gallons of water smashing into everything in their path. Weaving words into enduring poems, he reminds us that against the destructive force of floodwater there is only “a woven mat of arms and legs / holding off the river,” and that the stubborn human spirit is what prevails.
—Julie Kane

J. Bruce Fuller’s new collection of poems composes its own language of place, a topophilia of south Louisiana, songs of water, levees, drowinging, and loss: “[prayers] for this washboard land.” In the floods of 1927 and 2005, this lyric storyteller traces the recurrent arc of human folly and complicity across the span of a century, even as he recapitulates the love that keeps its inhabitants rooted in a shifting, unstable land. “The river is in all of us.” Fuller’s poems place us deep in the midst of it, muck, water, and love — “a new landfill / in the old neighborhood” — wind-torn, haunted, still ahold of the dreams.
—Marthe Reed

In this sensual and deeply informed collection, J. Bruce Fuller gives us two floods in the lower Mississippi River, almost a century apart. Describing the 1927 flood, the poems speak of men who stand on the levee to report the water’s rise. Some are forced to knit arms and legs, a kind of human dam, and are washed away. In 2006, the levees are strong, and people “in the shadow of the levee” feel smug and safe. They see meteorologists on CNN, and they watch the floodwater and destruction follow Katrina. Beyond those differences, the poems make clear, in concrete language, that there was the same betrayal, superstition, family ties, same indiscriminate death, wealth and its small protections, poverty and its vulnerability. These poems do not elegize life on the river a century ago as a time that will never return, or evoke New Orleans as it used to be before the storm. These poems know, as the river knows, that time is not linear, it is cyclical. The river will be there when our brief stories are gone. The flood can come again, when it will. As one of the men on the levee says, and repeats like a line in a blues song: “What water will come, will come.”
—Ava Leavell Haymon

In the tradition of William Carlos Williams, J. Bruce Fuller’s Notes to a Husband combines the indirection of silence and the directness of bodily experience to chronicle a kitchen counter breakdown, a scratch pad elegy. With each successive note, a wife pulls at the thread of the fraying fabric of a marriage, unraveling a shared domestic and romantic life. These deft and deeply affecting poems remind us of how relationships are so often defined by what we forgot to say, what has been said a thousand times, what cannot be said, what we meant to say, and what is left unsaid. Fuller does not give us recrimination, but a thoughtful, honest, beautifully crafted look at the loss of love.
—Amy Fleury

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