Friday, January 27, 2023

Poetry Sisters Write Cascade Poems

Happy 2023. I'm thrilled to kick off another year of writing with my poetry sisters. We met at the beginning of January to plan our challenges and talked about forms, themes, and prompts for the year. The theme guiding our writing for the year is transformation. 

The challenge this month was to write a cascade poem. You can learn more about this form in Robert Lee Brewer's column at Writer's Digest. This is a repetitive form where each line from the first stanza becomes the final line of each stanza that follows. Therefore, if the first stanza has 3 lines, the poem will have 4 stanzas. For this poem, I went with exploding stars.

Galactic Chemical Evolution*

Stars go supernova
expelling elements into space
we are made of stardust

time passes - in billions of years 
cascading elemental changes
stars go supernova

seeding future generations
stars burn and die
expelling elements into space

carbon, nitrogen, oxygen
formed, reformed, remade
WE are made of stardust

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2023. All rights reserved.

*Galactic chemical evolution is a real field of study. Here's a brief introduction.
Stars and interstellar gas in galaxies exhibit diverse chemical element abundance patterns that are shaped by their environment and formation histories. The aim of Galactic Chemical Evolution (GCE) is to use the observed abundances to unlock earlier epochs in the Universe, probe the mechanisms of galaxy formation, and gain insight into the evolution of stellar systems. 

The quote above came from Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia in a paper entitled Galactic Chemical Evolution. If you want to learn more about this topic, The Journal of Physics: Conference Series has a paper entitled Introduction to Galactic Chemical Evolution

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 

    Would you like to try the next challenge? In February, we are writing ekphrastic poems. You get to choose the topic, form, meter, length, etc., but your poem must be based on an image. We hope you'll join us. Are you in? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering with the rest of us on February 24th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!  

    I hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jan Annino at Bookseed Studio. Happy poetry Friday, friends!


    1. I love how Tanita used rhyme and how you fit in the word "cascade" and how Sara's flows... I love how some of us used quatrains and others used tercets... Cascades are such lovely forms to play with and make our own! AND, I love how the theme transformation leans into science! Really, "formed, reformed, remade" could be the title of your collection for the whole year....

      1. What a fabulous idea, Liz. I might just lean into that.

    2. Yeah, Liz said it---this form can be approached in so many ways. I love how much science you've put in yours, without losing the natural rhythm of your words. I KNOW science and poetry go together like moonlight and dancing, but you prove it here.

    3. It's rather wonderful to know that we, too, are part of the sky we watch in its transformation, Tricia. I love your 'cascade' of 'elemental changes' and believe children would love to read "We are stardust." A coming picture book?

    4. I love how you can so concisely lend science your creativity and dazzle us with a bit of stardust within a poem. And you've just made the three-line form sing for you -- I clearly need to sit with it some more. It's beautiful.

    5. Favorite-phrase-as-the-title for the WIN! I love the beauty of all of this science. Surely this will be a mentor text for your students!

    6. Agreed that this becomes a delicious teaser for the whole discipline of GCE, and that your cascade captures the cascade of elements seeding, among other things, US. Very atomic!

    7. This is an epic poem, encompassing galaxies to us mere specks of humans--and celebrating the connection. The smallness of the world. The bigness of us. The uselessness of judging our worth by our size. Lovely! That last line...

    8. You had me at the word 'STARS!' Even though I'm officially done with STAR as a OLW for '22...I can't help but look back and wave hello whenever I see STAR. 'We are made of stardust' is the best line ever! Thank you for sharing.

    9. Not only a beautiful poem, but it also taught me something new about stars.

    10. I'm always wowed when poets can combine science and poetry so lyrically! What a lovely cascade you've created here. The last line was perfect.

    11. I'm so amazed how all of your poems are so different. It's such an interesting form.

    12. I love how this form fit your theme so well - cascading and exploding star dust!

    13. You somehow incorporated the both the dreaminess and the science of stardust and the result is dazzling. Love this.