Meet The Editors
Meet the authors behind the cadralor. The cadralor was co-created by Lori Howe, Christopher Cadra and Mary Carroll-Hackett
Editor in Chief
Lori Howe is a co-creator of the new poetic form, the cadralor. She is also the author of Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains (Sastrugi Press, 2015) and Voices at Twilight (Sastrugi Press, 2016). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as The Meadow, Clerestory, Red Hook, and Pilgrimage. She is a poetry editor with Sastrugi Press, as well as a phenomenologist whose peer-reviewed research appears in The Journal of Poetry Therapy, Qualitative Inquiry, and others. She holds a Ph.D. in Literacy Education and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing/Poetry from the University of Wyoming, where she is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Honors College. She is the Editor in Chief of Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor and of Clerestory: Poems of the Mountain West. She is currently at work on the cadralore collection, Ocean, Ocean.
Lori, on the Cadralor: When I encountered a brilliant poem by the poet, Christopher Cadra, I was taken aback by his five, short stanzas, apparently unconnected, that came together alchemically in the fifth stanza. I was so moved that I sent him a message, and the cadralor was born of this fortunate and unexpected connection. Christopher Cadra had something else in mind when he wrote the poem(s) I read, but the chemical reaction that produced the cadralor came directly from his brilliant work. I was fascinated and drawn in by the idea of five unrelated stanzas that could each stand alone as whole poems, sparked into a fullness of self by the fifth stanza to become a whole poem connected almost invisibly by a shining or gleaming thread that becomes apparently only after one has read the entire poem. The cadralor is a “love poem,” and by this we mean that the gleaming thread illuminated by the fifth stanza answers the compelling question: “for what do you yearn?” This poetic form entrances me; it feels like a second skin. It is a thrilling experience to write a cadralor, and the more risk the poet takes, the more unconnected the stanzas are, the more electrifying the resulting poem. Along with my fellow editors, I hope you will read our sample poems, explore the form itself, and try your hand at the cadralor. I’d love to read your work.
Christopher Cadra is a poet/writer. His poetry has appeared in The Cimarron Review and elsewhere. His criticism has appeared in Basalt and a journal he edited, The Literati Quarterly.
Chris, on the Cadralor: The cadralor came about, one could say, by accident, though perhaps it couldn’t have been any other way. Its five distinct stanzas/images come together with a sort of magic, alchemy, or the term I’ve used most: an invisible thread. There’s something, maybe, in the writing of each stanza/image, of being in the same mindset while summoning the distinct images, that must remain unconscious, unseen. It’s almost as if, in writing a cadralor, one must forget they’re writing one until they reach the fifth stanza, or even after they’ve written the fifth stanza. It can be as late as then when that invisible thread, unseen by others, will become visible to the poet, who, in seeing the thread, can pull it and tighten the whole poem and say with confidence they have, indeed, just written a cadralor.
Senior Gleam Editor Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN in the great PNW. In other lives, he taught English and practiced acupuncture. He has recent work in American Journal of Poetry, Misfit, and Cultural Weekly, among others. He has published two collections: The only thing that makes sense is to grow (Moon Tide, 2020) and Mr. Rogers kills fruit flies (Main St. Rag, 2020). More of his work can be found at ferrypoetry.com.
Scott, on the Cadralor: I first encountered the cadralor on the Facebook page of Lori Howe and it immediately drew me in. Although I am generally not a fan of numbered poems, the numbers in these poems seemed to have more of a purpose of separation and concurrent cohesion. This is also what this form attempts to accomplish: stringing disconnected images into a connected whole. The way I have come to understand it, as in dreams, many times disparate scenes can actually form a higher narrative which is more felt than understood with logic. In a feeling almost like déjà vu, the individual stanzas of the cadralor give one a ghostly feeling of remembrance when grouped together, which is somehow accessed in the ether.
All this sounds quite overblown for a mere poetic form, but I was a convert once I saw the potential. Now, this is not new for poetry to accomplish this goal, but this form specifically demands it. Another unique feature of the cadralor is that the fifth and final stanza must bring the four other stanzas together into a type of “love poem.” Now the term “love” can be interpreted by each poet and it certainly does not need to be restricted to romantic love. This love can be an existential love of the divine or of nature as well.
I actually set to work on writing a poem in this form right away and didn’t stop until I had written five. Now, I am not saying I am done or that I am satisfied with the results. I am just starting to unlock the vistas this form can produce. And I hope, talented poets out there will also attempt to flesh out this form with new life!
Jessamyn Smyth’s poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Taos Review, Red Rock Review, American Letters and Commentary, Nth Position, Life & Legends, Wingbeats: Exercises and Practices in Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Her books The Inugami Mochi (2016) and Gilgamesh/Wilderness (forthcoming) are from Saddle Road Press. She has received honorable mention in Best American Short Stories (2006), and is the recipient of fellowships, scholarships, and grants from the Robert Francis Foundation, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and others. Jessamyn was the founding Editor in Chief of Tupelo Quarterly, and Founder/Director of the Quest Writer’s Conference.
Jessamyn, on the Cadralor: I first encountered the cadralor when I read Lori Howe’s initial flood of them: there was something so viscerally alive in the movement of her work in the form that I was immediately captivated. I could see and feel, too, how they were flowing in a way that just washes away any blockage, so I was excited by the form’s possibility as a new tool for teaching as well as my own praxis. When I set my hand to the form, though, what happened was not at all what I was expecting: rather than praise poem, joy-flood, or beauty explosion, the form became a kind of possession and took me straight to the underworld. What it asked of me was a bloody engagement with the hardest of all love-forms: betrayal, death, and the long climb back to the world of the living. The cadralor has its way with us, possessing and exorcising as surely as opening and washing clean. Unpredictable, non-linear, unenjambed stanzas connected by a gleaming thread of a final yes: try your hand at the cadralor and see where it takes you. We can’t wait to read what you make.
Lauren Scharhag is the author of fourteen books, including Requiem for a Robot Dog (Cajun Mutt Press) and Languages, First and Last (Cyberwit Press). Her work has appeared in over 150 literary venues around the world. She is the recipient of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award, the Door is Ajar Award, and the Seamus Burns Creative Writing Prize for poetry, as well as a fellowship from Rockhurst University for fiction. Additionally, her work has received multiple Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominations. She lives in Kansas City, MO. To learn more about her work, visit: www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com
Lauren, on the Cadralor: Like others, I first came across a cadralor Lori had posted in a Facebook group, and was immediately intrigued. I shied away from trying it myself because I’ve always been hopeless with poetic structures. Scott, who was familiar with my work, encouraged me to give it a go, and I’m so glad he did. The cadralor is more conceptual than structural. I write a lot of short, imagistic poems. The idea of finding a golden thread that can tie seemingly disparate moments together and arriving at a higher truth—wow. Just wow. I absolutely feel like this form can make poetry transcend. Lori told me early on that writing a cadralor is akin to possession and that is absolutely true. It leads you to a profound mental and spiritual place. The individual stanzas, written as short poems, won’t help you attain such insight on their own, but juxtaposing them together in the same space reveals fascinating patterns. I look forward to future revelations—both my own, and those of my fellow cadraloreans.
Jeannette Hawley is a white, cisgender, sober lesbian committed to justice. She is extremely grateful to live on unceded Pocomtuc land in western Massachusetts. Her journalism was published in the independent newspapers “Stonewall News Spokane” and “Lavender Rag” in 1990’s. Her cadralore “Stay” and “Skinless” were published in the inaugural issue of Gleam. She worked as a professional costumer for thirty-five years, and retired in 2017. Since 1985, she has volunteered her time and energy to advance the causes and comforts of LGBTQIA communities.
Jeannette, on the Cadralor: The structure of five appeals to me, like the fingers of a hand. The unrelated stanzas remind me of quilt piecing, particularly the gathering of scraps that had once been formed as clothing or other useful items, taking up a second life as warmth and beauty. I find it invigorating and liberating to hang images on this scaffold, my work as a theatrical costumer was always grounded in imagery and symbolism. The fifth stanza usually takes a while to blossom, that gleaming thread of desire and yearning surprises me, often appearing whole as I walk through the woods.
Ready to write your own cadralor?
Gleam is a journal wholly devoted to the new poetic form, the cadralor. Co-created by three of Gleam’s editors, the cadralor consists of five short, unrelated, highly-visual stanzas.
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!
Meet the Editors
The cadralor was co-created by:
Lori Howe, Editor in Chief
Christopher Cadra, Senior Editor
Mary Carroll-Hackett, Contributing Editor