Cascade Experiment Summary

Cascade Experiment

Alice Fulton has been honored over the years with a variety of awards. She has been highly praised for her lyric poetry that is at once profound as it is unconventional. The merging of memory, popular culture, science, and faith has been central to Fulton’s approach to poetry. Her poetry is often playful and almost always challenging. The reader must be willing to revisit the poems in order to piece together anything close to a coherent meaning. Fulton believes that experience and memory can lead to a multitude of conclusions. She stated in her essay “To Organize a Waterfall” that the form a poem ultimately takes “is based on the continuous chain of a cascade.” Out of this flow of ideas, it is possible for a poem to come into being.

Cascade Experiment includes a selection of poems from the following collections: Dance Script with Electric Ballerina (1983), Palladium (1986), Powers of Congress (1990), Sensual Math (1995), and Felt (2001). The reader will find a generous number of poems from each of these volumes included in this collection of selected poems. It is possible to chart Fulton’s evolution as a poet in Cascade Experiment. While the poems from Felt were written as recently as the year 2000, some of the poems from Dance Script with Electric Ballerina were composed as far back as 1978. Over a twenty-two year period, Fulton has addressed several crucial and provocative topics in her poetry, including sexuality, materialism, family, and death. Cascade Experiment is a welcome document of where Fulton has been as a poet and a harbinger of the boundless possibilities to come.