RSS

Tuesday Tryouts:Poetry Form–The Cascade Effect

17 May

8:14 a.m.– Atlanta

Hello all. We have a lovely, cool sunny Tuesday here. Today we are going to talk about a form I have enjoyed playing with because of the repetition of lines. Do not panic over the length of the post. I included outlines of what the form might look like to help you…colour coded even.

I only wrote my first cascade poem late last year but I love the form which gives plenty of freedom, while at the same time helping us along with the repetition of lines. No rhyme necessary, and no syllable count. Happy now, aren’t you? I can tell.

A cascade is a series of small waterfalls over steep rocks, or something thatย  resembles a waterfall or series of small waterfalls, especially an arrangement or fall of material. Think of a cascade asย  a succession of stages,ย  or units. In this case the repetition of poetic lines. Your words are the fall of material in a succession of stages, or stanzas.

The first thing you need to do is to come up with a short stanza, either three or four lines. However long the stanza is determines how many stanzas the poem will have. You can even grab an old stanza you have lying around that you like but isn’t working in its present poem. Or, as I did, grab an entire poem.

If your first stanza has three lines you will have four stanzas; if the first stanza has four lines, the poem will have five stanzas. Don’t worry non-math people. As always, it is easier than it sounds, once you understand what you are doing. Remember, no syllable counting.

If your first stanza has three lines: Line one of stanza one becomes the last line of stanza two. The second line of stanza one becomes the last line of stanza three. The third line of stanza one becomes the last line of stanza four, the last stanza of the poem. I feel imminent panic. Hang in there.

When writing a cascade poem, I find it helpful, as I have only written a couple, to outline it, as a reminder of where the repeated lines go. Seeing the repeated lines written out also allows my brain to start working on how new lines will work with the repeated lines.

Three line stanza:

A
B
C

a
b
A

c
d
B

e
f
C

A quatrain cascade:

A
B
C
D

a
b
c
A

d
e
f
B

g
h
i
C

j
k
l
D

This already looks scarily long as a post because of the outlines. May I suggest you see what you can do, and I shall post an example of the cascade I wrote, tomorrow, as an extra post. The example will be more helpful, if you have already worked your way through the directions. However, in case this sends you into an immediate panic I shall give you links to two good examples: “Buffalo Horse” and “The Cycle of Seasons: Discovered”.

Give this a try. I promise it is fun…no syllable count…and I shall post mine tomorrow, so you will have a third example. If you think someone will enjoy this, click the buttons below. I shall see you briefly tomorrow; Thursday is more words to avoid; Friday we wrapup the week’s prompts; and next Tuesday, cinquains!

If you write a cascade, post it in the comments, or leave a link to where you have it posted. Remember: these only need be drafts. Happy writing, everyone.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on 17/05/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 responses to “Tuesday Tryouts:Poetry Form–The Cascade Effect

  1. Donna Vorreyer

    17/05/2011 at 10:57 am

    Love this idea – can’t wait to try it!

     
  2. margo roby

    17/05/2011 at 11:27 am

    Tell you what…when you and I run out of exercises and prompts we trade and work through from the beginning!

     
  3. pamelasayers

    17/05/2011 at 1:26 pm

    Why is it a have heart palpitations when I visit you lately, Margo ๐Ÿ™‚ I will give this a try. I wrote a cascade sometime last year. I suppose it is time for another.

    Pamela

     
  4. margo roby

    17/05/2011 at 1:36 pm

    Oh, Pamela, I am sorry. I will try and break up forms every couple of weeks with non-form prompts. Although they do say a little stress is good for the soul ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am doing cinquains next week but they are tiny and while you will have to count syllables, they are only five lines long…hang in there and remember:drafts…they are only drafts, from which something unexpected may arise. You are allowed to go off in your own direction if something occurs while you are trying a form. Rules are made to be broken…break them if you need to ๐Ÿ™‚

     
  5. anjum wasim dar

    17/05/2011 at 6:23 pm

    Margo another week as your student and then I may get some idea of poetry-Oh with all these forms and technical effects I just thought of Mr Alexander Pope-he really put his effort in the ‘rhyming couplet and putting the ‘ceasura’ just in the right place-perfect classicism of the 18th Century.
    I think I don’t write poetry, I just write ‘words’ and more comfortably I can say ‘I just gather words’ and jot them on paper or…the digital interface’ the cascade sounds like a great creative challenge, will try it soon-the word cascade made me drift into the ‘cavalcade’ …of the 14th C…why do the Geminians have to fly into the past? …

     
  6. pamelasayers

    22/05/2011 at 11:17 pm

    Margo, I haven’t forgotten about the cascade. I just had a really busy week. I will do one this week. I appreciate your prompts ๐Ÿ™‚

    Pamela

     
  7. margo roby

    23/05/2011 at 7:58 am

    You are a dear to let me know, Pamela. I had one of those weeks too and am hoping for a slower paced one this week. And the new form this week is short, and easy, I know you will be glad to know!

     
  8. ladynimue

    31/05/2011 at 1:07 pm

    I guess I am late but I did learn the form from your blog. So here’s the link :

    http://ladynimue.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/forsaken/

    hope I did right !

     
    • margo roby

      31/05/2011 at 1:16 pm

      Nah! There is no late, Lady N! You can post anytime. I am always happy to see the results and shall head over now to look.

       
    • margo roby

      10/02/2013 at 9:31 am

      I love cascades! I’ll be over to read it.

       

Join the discussion and feel free to critique, or suggest an idea for any poem I post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: