Monday, February 21, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Pantoum Therapy

I'm writing this with a sunbeam shining directly on my heart, because later today I get to go to THE ADVENTURE AQUARIUM with my niece and nephews and then have cupcakes to celebrate Holden and Quinn's birthday! Hooray.

Anyway, so I've decided to include some writing games in with the Motivation Mondays. If you decide to try any of them, you can email me the results at I'll post them. :)

Anyone who's ever been in one of my grown-up poetry classes knows that pantoums are the best thing for writing about something that obsesses you, something impossible, something you can't get away from. The repetition lets you just go ahead and obsess to your heart's content. Here's one I wrote about the Gulf Oil Disaster last summer. I don't know how else I'd've ever put that feeling into words.

Going with the Wikipedia definition from last summer: "The pantoum is a form of poetry similar to a villanelle. It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next. This pattern continues for any number of stanzas, except for the final stanza, which differs in the repeating pattern. The first and third lines of the last stanza are the second and fourth of the penultimate; the first line of the poem is the last line of the final stanza, and the third line of the first stanza is the second of the final. Ideally, the meaning of lines shifts when they are repeated although the words remain exactly the same: this can be done by shifting punctuation, punning, or simply recontextualizing."

Here we go!

Stanza 1:
Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4

Stanza 2:
Line 5 (repeat of line 2 in stanza 1)
Line 6 (new line)
Line 7   (repeat of line 4 in stanza 1)
Line 8 (new line) 

***Write as many stanzas as you want to.***

Last Stanza (This is the format for the last stanza regardless of how many preceding stanzas exist):
Line 9   (line 2 of the previous stanza)
Line 10 (line 3 of the first stanza)
Line 11 (line 4 of the previous stanza)
Line 12 (line 1 of the first stanza) 


  1. I must do this! I wrote a lot of ghazals last year which are also good for things you're obsessed with.

  2. OOH, thanks! I'll try ghazaling too!