It’s time for another Writer’s Digest poetic form challenge! This time around, we’re writing the pantoum, a poetic form filled with repeating lines and rhymes. The form originates in Malay.
Here are the basic rules for the form:
- Poem consists of quatrains (4-line stanzas). No limit, but there should be at least 2 stanzas.
- Each quatrain has an abab rhyme scheme. However, the poem can follow an abab/bcbc/cdcd/etc. rhyme scheme throughout.
- Lines 2 and 4 of each stanza become lines 1 and 3 of the next stanza. Ideally, lines 2 and 4 of the final stanza will become lines 1 and 3 of the opening stanza.
Okay, so that’s writing a pantoum.
Here are the rules for entering the WD Poetic Form Challenge:
- Write an original pantoum (or three)
- Post your pantoum in the comments below along with your name as you would like it to appear in the magazine (if selected as the winner)
- Deadline: March 8 @ 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, Georgia, time)
It’s really a pretty simple challenge, and the winning poem receives publication in a future issue of Writer’s Digest magazine as the example of a pantoum. So you’ll be famous and known around the world as a master of this particular poetic form.
That’s worth a few minutes of poeming, isn’t it?
The winner is usually announced within a week or so of the deadline–along with a list of other great examples (typically takes the form of a Top 10 list). So start writing your pantoums already!
In the Advanced Poetry Writing workshop, poets will write and receive feedback on 6 poems during the 6-week course. Instructor Cherri Randall will share revision techniques that will help leading into National Poetry Month. Click to continue.
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Check out some previous WD Poetic Form Challenge winners: