Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Pantoum, An Explanation

Pantoum, An Explanation

Blue Musings, Explanation

This month I am going to discuss a poetic form that originated in Indonesia know as the Pantoum. This form has a highly formalized structure, which is also interesting in the cyclic nature of the work created in the form. In it's purest form, the Pantoum consists of 16 lines, organized into 4 stanzas of 4 lines each. Lines number 2 and 4 in Stanza One become lines 1 and 3 in Stanza Two. The progression of 2 and 4 become 1 and 3 carries throughout the work. That is, 2 and 4 of Stanza Two, become 1 and 3 of Stanza Three, 2 and 4 of Stanza Three, become 1 and 3 of Stanza Four. The only further stipulation, for the traditionalists, is that Line 1 of Stanza One becomes Line 4 of Stanza Four, thus completing the cycle at the point at which it began.

Bob's Byway of Poetic Terms, definition

A poem in a fixed form, consisting of a varying number of 4-line stanzas with lines rhyming alternately; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated to form the first and third lines of the succeeding stanza, with the first and third lines of the first stanza forming the second and fourth of the last stanza, but in reverse order, so that the opening and closing lines of the poem are identical.

Sidelight: The pantoum is derived from the Malayan pantun, which follows the same rhyme and line patterns but differs in some other respects. In the pantun, which is traditionally improvised, the theme or meaning is conveyed in the second two lines of each quatrain, while the first two lines present an image or allusion which may or may not have an obvious connection with the theme.

Pantoums (some examples) before you read any further... all works contained herein are the of the authors, all rights reserved. Any unauthorized duplication, reporduction or storage by any means, electronic or otherwise, is forbidden without the express consent of the author.
Barren Shell by Dean P. Goodwin
Strings of History by Mikki Pennington
The Wall by Deane P. Goodwin
Yesterdays Sons by Mikki Pennington
Return to Main Page