Creative writing activity for individual writers

Writing a Pantoum

Objectives

to use this Malaysian form of poetry in an entertaining form

to make use of the cyclical and repetitive nature of pantoums in a contemporary poem

Organisation

individual writing

Example

Wendy Cope’s Teddy Bear Pantoum

Notes

It is important to choose a theme for which repetition makes sense.

It may be useful to use lines that make full sentences or complete statements on their own.

It could also be interesting to subvert the repetitions by sometimes using sentences or statements that are ambiguous.

Pantoums can rhyme (Wendy Cope’s does) but they work quite well unrhymed.

Procedure

Choose a theme in which the same thing is ususally said more than once (e.g. an argument, a political discussion, a decision one may agonise over / be obsessive about)

Brainstorm a number of statements and sentences that would be uttered in connection with that theme.

Choose the one which would make a good opening and a good closing line. Then do the same with another one that will appear in line three and in line 2 in the last quatrain (four-liner)

Then arrange the rest of the sentences/statements in pantoum form

Form

line A
line B
line C
line D

line B (repeated)
line E
line D (repeated)
line F

line E (repeated)
line G
line F (repeated)
line H

line Y
line C (repeated)
line Z
line A (repeated)



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