Dear Editor,

I found Ben Marcus's review of Alice Fulton's Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems to be rather myopic and supercilious. Throughout he offers a number of haughty variations on the same shopworn critical refrain, as when he writes that "too often [Fulton's] linguistic dexterity and stylistic exertions mask what are, finally, banal stories," or later, when he quips that Fulton is a "poet short on message but long on technique." Fulton's work, in contrast to what Marcus supposes, is not a bland confessional or narrative poetry disguised behind cosmetic glim-glam or shimmering syntax; it unabashedly and loudly embraces such surface effects, but such effects also constitute the formal core of her poems, making them work. Whereas Marcus wants Fulton to go beyond suggestiveness to explore the "larger facility with connections, the ability to prove relationships and equalities where we had not noticed them before," Fulton seems content to employ the power of the suggestion—at once sly, glancing, elliptical, and powerful.

Originally Published: October 30th, 2005

Emily Rosko earned her BA from Purdue University, her MFA from Cornell University, and her PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her collections of poetry include Raw Goods Inventory (2006), which won an Iowa Poetry Prize and a Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and Prop Rockery (2012), winner of an...

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