A new poetry form

to me. At least, if it’s not new I only vaguely remember it. Found at Common Room, which I’ve been reading for quite a while now. But rarely have so many posts in one day appealed to me personally as something I need to blog and mark.

a pantoum from my poetry book, “The Roar on the Other Side,” by Suzanne U. Clark:

“It’s not too difficult to write but does require skill and thought. This form, originally from Malaya, was brought to the West by Victor Hugo in 1829. Here’s how it works. Write four lines of poetry. Fill them with imagery. Number the lines. In stanza two, repeat the lines according to this pattern: line 2 from the first stanza becomes line 1 in the second. Line 4 from the first becomes line 3 in the second. Lines 2 and 4 in this [second] stanza are new ones you will write. The next stanza repeats the pattern. There’s no limit to the number of stanzas in a pantoum, but let’s simplify the form by thinking in terms of four.

When you come to the final stanza, all the lines are written. It’s up to you to decide the order. Use lines 1 and 3 from the first stanza and lines 2 and 4 from the third. Ending with line 1 gives the poem a strong finish, like a circle being closed. “

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