For Paint The World With Words poetic form of the week: Pantoum. What is a Pantoum? Amreen has an explanation from Poets.org on her post, but I also found a different source with some differences in form at:
There are several different ways to write a Pantoum, a form that originated in Malaysia. According to Bob Newman, who runs the site above, a “classical” Pantoum consists of an abba rhyme scheme, with a strict syllable count of 8 syllables per line, with the second and fourth line of a stanza serving as the first and third line of the next stanza. The whole thing loops around, and the first and third lines of the first stanza serve as the second and fourth of the last stanza.
A different source he quotes claims that a “classical” Pantoum consists of 4 stanzas of 4 lines, for a total of 16, and that rhyming is not required.
More modern forms, which is the form I did, have an abab pattern: the first line rhymes the third and the second line rhymes the fourth. The second and fourth lines of a stanza still serve as the first and third lines of the next, with the first and third lines of the first stanza serving as the second and last line (in this particular modern form, anyway).
There is another way to write a Pantoum. According to Poets.org:
However, as the pantoum spread, and Western writers altered and adapted the form, the importance of rhyming and brevity diminished. The modern pantoum is a poem of any length, composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The last line of a pantoum is often the same as the first.
So, here’s what I did:
I took the “classical” format of 4 stanzas of 4 lines each, for a total of 16 lines. I kept the requirement of the second and fourth lines of a stanza being the first and third lines of the next. For the ending stanza, I went with the first and third lines of the first stanza as the second and fourth lines. This means the last line will not be the same as the first. (Sorry, Poets.org, I liked the other way better)
To cap it off, I tried to do the whole thing in American Sentences, a form of American Haiku created by Allen Ginsberg. An American Sentence is 17 syllables and follows the same basic rules as Japanese Haiku, but is written in the Western linear fashion of left to right, instead of up and down.
Don’t know if I actually pulled that off or not, as this is my first time experimenting with them.
My Pantoum (American Pantoum?) breaks down as follows:
4 stanzas of 4 lines each
17 syllables per line in American Sentence style
2nd and 4th line of a stanza serves as 1st and 3rd of the next, except for the ending stanza. Ending stanza’s 2nd and 4th lines copy 1st and 3rd of the first stanza.
ABAB rhyme pattern.
Use different punctuation to change the meaning and tone of sentences.
Whew! I didn’t find this form too hard, but the varying ways it can be written can be dizzying. I took what I liked, threw in something different for “fun” and did my own thing. Find what you like and feel free to do the same. That’s one of the wonderful things about poetry.
Hope you enjoy.
Happy Reading and Writing!