10 Great Quotes About Poets, Poetry, and Writing by Brad Osborne*

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“Poetry is like owning a tuxedo, you get it out for weddings and funerals.”

“Sometimes, a writer’s own words, like kindling, seem small and short-lived. But they may be enough to start a fire in another, and that is all any of us can really hope for.”

“The first question I would ask any poet is, what their favorite poem by another poet is. If they don’t have one, I may well question their desire to be a poet.”

“No one can tell you what to write, what not to write, how to write, when to write, or where to write. And they will certainly never understand anything about why you write. You are given full license to express yourself however, whenever, wherever, about whatever, and why ever you want. I encourage you to push every boundary you find while doing so.”

“The beginning of a poem is like fishing for me. I don’t know exactly what I am after, I just know some worms are getting wet. Hopefully, I’ll get a bite.”

“Writing poetry is like cooking was before electricity. Everything is slow roasted over a fire that must be constantly tended. You can’t microwave a masterpiece.”

“Learning to write is done the same way we learned to run. First crawl, then walk, then run. Crawl out of bed, walk to the desk, and run with an idea.”

“The best poetry elicits moments of anticipation within the reader. Like the feeling in the pit of your stomach when the rollercoaster reaches the top of the hill. Moments when we are scared and excited at the same time, and we become fully engaged in the world around us.”

“Poetry is a crash course in editing. It is where we learn to take the ten words of a thought and turn it into two, in the need to meet phonetic or syllabic meter. It is more about reduction than production. And there is a beauty in that.”

“Not everything we write is a masterpiece. We even suspect that some works will never be good enough for public consumption. But like children, we find it impossible to let them go. It is like ending a bad relationship. We hold onto something that is of no benefit in our lives in order to avoid feeling like the time we spent was wasted.”

—Brad Osborne

*These quotes were taken from the “Tuesday Tidbits” series on Brad’s blog Commonsensibly Speaking with his kind permission.

Invented Poetry Forms – The Cascada Veinte

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over three months since I last introduced a new invented poetry form here, a series which until recently had been the mainstay of this blog. I hope you will all forgive me for this inexcusable negligence, but I am back today with what I feel is a truly great one. Chances are you may not be familiar with the cascada viente poem (since it was only invented this year), but I am sure you are with its amazing creator, the very talented poet, writer, and blogger Brad Osborne and his wonderful blog Commonsensibly Speaking. Those who read Brad faithfully knows every Tuesday Brad posts a new installment of his weekly series, Whittled Words, which (in his own words) highlights “the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith”. There last August, Brad posted his very first attempt at inventing a new form of poetry, the “Cascada Veinte” (Spanish for ‘cascading twenty’). It was inspired by the Decima, Villanelle, and Roundabout forms and created in honor of a great artist and good friend, Francisco Bravo Cabrera.

The cascada viente is a twenty line poem containing five stanzas of four lines a piece (quatrains). It is isosyllabic with no required meter and has seven syllables per line. Its rhyme scheme consists of cascading alternate doubles and can be expressed as abab bcbc cdcd dede efef.

Brad has graciously given me permission to post his poem “One Is the Loneliest”, the very first cascada viente ever written (and no doubt still the best) to serve as a model for your own attempt at the form:

One Is the Loneliest

It’s a crushing kind of tired
Not of body, but of soul
Grace seemingly expired
Not a feeling at all whole

Playing a singular role
Acting it well to the bone
Oneness is taking its toll
Tired of being alone

Wanting words have not atoned
And un-warmed sheets yet to show
Worth slowly being dethroned
A fragile child’s ego

Longing heart that does not know
How to let love be set free
That one on which to bestow
The heart chained deep within me

Cherished one, stay not from me
Don’t make me wait much longer
Come and bring some proof to see
That love can make me stronger

—Brad Osborne

So what do you think, folks? I, myself, really love this form, especially because of its classical feel. If I didn’t know better, I would swear the cascada viente dated back centuries, not just a few months. Though I was a bit intimidated by the cascading alternate doubles rhyme scheme (it is, at least for me, somewhat tricky to master), I was inspired to try my own humble effort at this great new form, and believe it serves as a perfect vehicle for the following pastiche of one of my favorite Edgar Allen Poe poems (with a topical twist):

The Return of the Conqueror Worm
(A Sequel Set in Current Times)

Behold! The conqueror worm
Returns again to the stage
In the guise of a vile germ,
Its audience in a cage,

As it heralds in the age
Of Zoom (with us quarantined,
Trapped like words upon the page).
This strutting, villainous fiend

Having our lives guillotined,
Cut off from family, friends
Forcibly being pulled, weaned
From them til this madness ends-

Tragicomedy that blends
Mournful pathos with jest,
A sick farce which all depends
On its denouement. The rest,

Just exposition at best
And a bad plot twist unseen:
This play has no hero, lest
It’s truly Covid-Nineteen…

—Paul Szlosek

Thank you so much for reading for reading today’s post, and I hope you will try your own hand at writing this brand new form (the world sorely needs more cascada viente poems!)