Editors’ Workshop, Chris Cadra

Editors’ Workshop

Thoughts on Craft and Process

In each quarterly issue of GLEAM, a member of the editorial staff will share a cadralor poem and talk through their process and craft of writing cadralore. We will answer questions and offer personal advice on writing poems in this deceptively challenging form.

Issue 2 Editors’ Workshop:
Chris Cadra, Senior Editor, GLEAM

Sometimes, anyway

By Chris Cadra

Published by Verse-Virtual: An Online Community Journal of Poetry

Christopher Cadra author headshot

Beginning a cadralor may appear daunting, but it seems often to be the case that once a poet gets going, the experience is less difficult and even liberating. 

Chris Cadra, Senior Editor, GLEAM

Getting Started with Cadralore

Beginning a cadralor may appear daunting, but it seems often to be the case that once a poet gets going, the experience is less difficult and even liberating. I’ve heard it said that writing a cadralor leaves one feeling “possessed.” I’ve also heard at least one poet express the idea that writing cadralore freed them from a block.

Reading about the cadralor, and reading published cadralore, might make the writing of a cadralor intimidating to even experienced poets. And this is as maybe it should be. Crafting a well-executed cadralor can be difficult. But the topic here is not writing a whole cadralor, rather simply getting started with one, which should be easy. And fun!

Below, I’ll share some ideas and suggestions that’ll hopefully convince the reader of the ease with which they might get started and encourage the same reader to get writing.

So, getting started…

All one needs to get started with a cadralor is an image. One image means one stanza, which means the poet is on their way. Forget about five stanzas, the poem itself. Remember, the images/stanzas are distinct. The fifth stanza’s “invisible thread,” the alchemic something that pulls the distinct stanzas together to make a cadralor, is necessary but need not be thought about at the genesis of the poem.

I’ve written a couple of cadralore consisting of one-line-per stanzas (inspired by the first one-line-per-stanza cadralor, written by Scott Ferry). I’ve written a cadralor containing a couple of haiku serving as a couple of stanzas. I’ve also written a cadralor made up entirely of haiku, one per stanza. So long as one image is expressed in each stanza, everything else is totally up to the poet.

The images themselves can be found by any means possible. I’ve used the same relationship (friendship, romantic) to gather five distinct images. I’ve in the same way used a period of time spent with the same people (as was the case with the attached “Sometimes, anyway”). I’ve used seasons as inspiration a couple of times. I’ve also used nothing at all, by which I mean each image was fished out in a unique way.

Once, I looked to my left, saw my glossy book of John Keats’ poetry, and wrote: “My book of Keats glows.” That was a whole stanza in a one-line-per-stanza cadralor, and I am as proud of that image as any difficult to come about, difficult to express image I’ve written elsewhere. In the end, getting started with cadralore is as simple as fishing for images and copying them down. Even regarding the fifth stanza, and the “invisible thread” found in the fifth stanza, if the poet writes five distinct images, one is likely to gleam a bit, and there you go. Plaster it to the bottom. It’s probably never going to be that easy to write a solid cadralor, but it’ll always be that easy to get started.

Ready to write your own cadralor?

About Us

Gleam is a journal wholly devoted to the new poetic form, the cadralor, created by Gleam’s founding co-editors, Lori Howe and Christopher Cadra. The cadralor consists of five short, unrelated, highly-visual stanzas.

More About Cadralor

Get In Touch

If you are interested in submitting your own cadralor poem or if you have questions, you can reach out to our Gleam email. We look forward to hearing from you!

Call for Submissions

Meet the Editors

The cadralor was co-created by:
• Lori Howe, Editor in Chief
• Christopher Cadra, Senior Editor

Meet the Editors

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