Dr. Lori Howe is the co-creator of the new poetic form, the cadralor, and founding Editor in Chief of its flagship publication, Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor. Since the inception of this non-narrative, highly-imagist poetic form in 2020, Lori Howe’s cadralore have appeared in journals such as Verse-Virtual, Synkroniciti, MacQueen’s Quinterly, theTampa Review, and The Meadow, been featured on Wyoming Public Radio, and have received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. In 2021, her full-length manuscript-in-progress, On Some Agencies of Electricity: Cadralore and Other Poems, won the Wyoming Arts Council Poetry Fellowship, and most recently, her poem “A New Law of Liquids in Flight,” received an Honorable Mention in the Kelsay Books Women’s Poetry Competition and is forthcoming in The Orchards Poetry Journal in Summer, 2023. Dr. Howe leads collaborative poetry workshops and readings with an international audience via Zoom, as well as in-person writing and teaching conferences in the United States. She is the author of two poetry collections, Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains(Sastrugi Press 2015), and Voices at Twilight (Sastrugi Press 2016), and the executive editor of Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers (Sastrugi Press, 2016 & 2021). Dr. Howe holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing/Poetry (2010) and a Ph.D. in Literacy Education/Curriculum & Instruction (2017), both from the University of Wyoming, where she is currently an Assistant Instr. Professor in the Honors College. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with a feral cat named Miss Kitty Pants. Hobbies include lake kayaking, cross-country skiing, cooking for friends, baking cakes, hosting guests in her Airbnb, and renovating a nearly 100-year-old house. Follow Lori Howe on Facebook, and check out past issues of Gleam, as well as submissions guidelines and cadralor rules of the form, at gleampoets.org. Keep an eye on this page for forthcoming workshop opportunities, calls for submission to Gleam, and links to newly-published poems.
1. String-net Liquids*
Fish fall naturally into formations when they swim, creating vortices
that raft each other along, lifting buoyant. At New York University,
Maurizio Porfiri builds a robot zebrafish to study them, watches,
hovering above the tank, a florescent god, as the blue and yellow fish
follow in its wake, the swirls tasting only slightly metallic:
Porfiri watches, his cells twitching in formation, the diamond
the phalanx and his little robot fish a double for the one
revolving inside him, a flash of sardines catching the light, a whiff
of kelp bulbs popping in the sterile lab, and in that moment
only the seamed coastline of his clothes holds his body in solid form.
2. Quark-gluon Plasma*
If we were mantis shrimp, we’d scarcely control our eyes, perched
and swiveling wildly on our own stalks, seeing 12 spectra of color:
4x as many colors exist as we can see. Oh, how we long to name them.
Did you know that humans are bioluminescent, that we glow
as we walk through the fog and turmoil of our days? Only poor
eyesight blinds us to the warmth and light we emit, lit like angels.
This is true, my love. If we could step inside the bodies of ostracods,
those gigantocypris that dwell in the deep cold of the sea, far beyond
the reach of light, the concave mirrors in our eyes would reveal us
as glorious creatures illuminated by treasures beneath our skin.
1904, Astor Hotel: In this daguerreotype of exotic palms and women
in white gowns, men in black waistcoats and bowties turn to the camera,
smiling beneath walrus mustaches, glasses raised. Oh, the table goes on
so far into the unknown, its parallel sides come together. Beside me,
a man dozes, pince nez askew; beside you, a woman feeds a monkey:
mercury vapor and salt set the image just as it bites her, those small,
sharp teeth. See us, just there: the turn of your mouth, my blush.
You decline Astor’s invitation to board his new ocean liner, dining
in my quiet rooms as darkness rises, buoyant as salt water, filling
Central Park, flowing up the sides of buildings until we can taste it.
4. Rydberg Polaron*
Unfurling trumpets lined in neon raspberry and lime, stentors
are protozoan blue whales, tiny giants who carry blue-green algae
within them, offer them life in exchange for life, bits of modern art
regenerating whole cells in perfect geometry. Animals evolve the gift
of resurrection from unicellular ancestors, but humans, no; not us.
1853, New Year’s Eve: dinner inside a life-size replica of Iguanodon,
21 men in its belly dining on hare and cod with oyster sauce,
golden meringues and jellied fruit, pocket watches glinting, champagne
coupes lining the table in a string of pearls as though they, too,
could reconstruct themselves as giants of their own shining world.
5. Supercritical Fluidity*
In this village named for the goddess Minerva, her stones and clay
glow golden in blue afternoon light. Birdsong follows our footsteps
through Roman arches, caressing ankles like a cat. A scented corner,
the open door of a patisserie, religieuse and coffee, webbed
voices floating out. Who built these walls, these streets? Their hands
linger, smooth with touch. Plasma matters nothing to an olive tree
who’s lived a thousand years. Heat is energy between bodies,
and here, where beauty and ache fall from windows like baskets
waiting to be filled, the state of being human is a hungry mouth,
and the most common state of everything is emptiness + desire.
Exotic states of matter differ from classical states of matter in that, under unusual conditions, they defy the behavior typically associated with classical states of matter:
1. Scorpion Light
At dusk, my brother and his friends slid out into deepening shadow
with their bowlcuts and left-over Garanimals, impatient to be men.
They carried old sacks, kitchen towels, and flashlights, brushing
the still-warm summer walls of adobe and brick houses, waiting
for a stray beam to finger a scorpion, luminous blue-green angels
of the night. Breathless, the boys dropped them into the velvet dark
of our mom’s old black purse, into the movie-theatre scent of lipstick
and Juicy Fruit. In my mind, I see them falling, luminous arms rising
neon as carnival rides into the humid dark, vivid x-ray images
not of bones but of desire in that strange, close, fragrant world.
When mackerel came swimming into Skagerrak each spring,
Norwegians caught them with a drift-net fleet. In 1920, Stavanger
men and women, their hands slick with bodies, worked into the night,
stemming tides; from the ocean’s skin, they gathered mackerel
in their arms like loaves of bread, staggered home knowing wealth,
imagined their children sleeping full and satisfied in warm beds.
The wooden canneries are vacant now, pickets stained; ghost teeth.
Inside them, rows of sealed glass jars hold voices of men
and the great fish they followed into the hadopelagic zone,
seven miles down. If you are quiet, you may hear them breathe.
Sea turtles and pigeons posses a full map sense; tiny compass needles
of magnetite in the receptor cells of their noses guide them in
the dark: a strewing of fireflies. There is magnetite in the abdomens
of honeybees, my love. In this cathedral, dimple the comb
with a larch spoon’s edge, fill your own hollows sweet, be pulled
by the earth’s liquid outer core as a night breeze sways bamboo
in green choirs, the way mermaids swim in abalone; exhale a feast
of carbon and pyrite. Like ostrich wings, humans retain a vestigial
magnetic sense; it pulls, the way torn wallpaper brushes memory to
surface: a slosh of turquoise; scent of jasmine; gondolas, passing.
4. St. Clement, Patron Saint of Hatmakers
Lying in the Bismarck cold, 8,900 men, women, and children spread arms
and legs, flapping joyously, making snow angels against winter’s grey,
mittens painting the canvas with poppies, scraps of June sky, gold coins
by a tourmaline sea. Fifteen hundred miles away, there is only my own
warm hand to hold against my heart. Oh, the gaunt ache of distance,
our arms flying close as nightfall casts our angels in ice, glazed silver
and pearl by a honeyed sliver of hot moon. Just off the square,
the chocolate shop is closing, windows steamed gold with the spice
secrets of rose truffles, ginger, a melting of tahini strewn with petals.
Come morning, long lashes of ice shimmer with fennel and peonies.
Human eyes offer up phenomena to the gods of our brains, translators
of force and distance, the hues of visible light. In 1663, Edme Mariotte
proved that the optic nerve is an absent telephone operator
between the retina and the brain, is a cell-less disc, a dark forest
we cover with white sheets, projecting onto them a movie with a plot
no one understands. The underground parking lots of Paris throng
with fresh chicory and oyster mushrooms, and an octopus unfurls
her glorious carmine cape to the depths: a roseate string of hammocks
stretching fine across the chasm. The arc between there and here is
immeasurable, my love; see how our breath rises around us like pearls.
Dr. Lori Howe is an Assistant Instructional Professor in the Honors College. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy from the University of Wyoming, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing/Poetry, an M.A. in English, and a B.A. in English and Spanish from the University of Wyoming. Dr. Howe is an educational researcher, practicing existential, hermeneutical phenomenology and using poetry workshops to help participants communicate the essence of their lived experiences. Her phenomenological research appears in such journals as The Journal of Poetry Therapy and Qualitative Inquiry. As a LAMP fellow, her research and pedagogy also focus on interdisciplinarity and on integrating interdisciplinary, Team-based, Problem-based learning in the humanities classroom. She teaches Honors’ first-year series, the Honors Colloquium, as well as the First Year Seminar, “A Walk Across the World,” the upper-division, “Saffron, Silk, and Broadswords: A Trek through Great Civilizations,” and co-leads the study abroad course, “Revoluciones y Cultural Evoluciones: Cultural and Political Movements in Spain.” She is the recipient of University of Wyoming teaching awards such as the PIE (Promoting Intellectual Engagement) Award and the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award.