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Cascade Poem: Poetic Forms

Learn how to write a cascade poem, an invention of Udit Bhatia. Get the guidelines and check out an example poem of this poetic form here.

Since I was having trouble coming up with a poem today, I thought I'd investigate a new poetic form to help prompt me into action. I've seen the cascade poem mentioned a few times online, but I always assumed it meant the poem was comprised of stanzas with indented lines (creating a kind of cascading effect). But after researching online, I realize this assumption is wrong.

(8 Lawrence Ferlinghetti Quotes for Writers and About Writing.)

The cascade poem was a form invented by Udit Bhatia (who also apparently created the Alliterisen, which I'll try to deal with in a future post). For the cascade poem, a poet takes each line from the first stanza of a poem and makes those the final lines of each stanza afterward. Beyond that, there are no additional rules for rhyming, meter, etc.

Here's what a cascade poem with a tercet would look like:

A
B
C

a
b
A

c
d
B

e
f
C

A quatrain cascade would look so:

A
B
C
D

a
b
c
A

d
e
f
B

g
h
i
C

j
k
l
D

And, of course, you can make this even more involved if you want.

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The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

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Here's my attempt at a Cascade Poem:

"Conflict"

Tonight is perfect for staying inside,
but I'm busy contorting my organs.
For instance, my heart and brain love to fight.

Sometimes, you can see them twist my body
this way and that when it is raining, though
tonight is perfect for staying inside.

My lungs breathe heavy and my skin itches
to touch you, to let you know I'm all right,
but I'm busy contorting my organs.

It's a put off, I know. Losing control
when I'm around you, unable to say,
for instance, my heart and brain love to fight.

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