Pantoum Definition

Poetry Definition of Pantoum

A rare form of poetry similar to a villanelle. It is composed of a series of four-line stanzas; the second and fourth lines of the first stanza are 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 (next to last stanza); 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. 

Typically a pantoum is made up of two rhyming couplets, however, Western writers altered and adapted the form, the importance of rhyming and brevity diminished. So, pantoums do not need to rhyme.

Example

In the example, the letters A, B, C etc refer to whole repeated lines, not just rhyming lines.
 

a First Line
b Second Line
c Third Line
d Fourth Line


b Second Line
e Fifth Line
d Fourth Line
f Sixth Line


e Fifth Line
c Third Line
f Sixth Line
a First Line

As she dances on the moonlit glen
Taking in the freshness of the air
She is alone, but not lonely
She is surrounded by spirits


Taking in the freshness of the air
Searching again for her silent companions
She is surrounded by spirits
They watch the contentment she holds


Searching again for her silent companions
She is alone, but not lonely
They watch the contentment she holds
As she dances on the moonlit glen

Top 5 Pantoum Poem Examples

PMPoem TitlePoetFormCategories
Premium Member Poem MAGICAL MOONLIGHT - A PANTOUM ALLISON, JAN Pantoummoon, nature, sea, sky,
Premium Member Poem Sun shines on the righteous Dietrich, Andrea Pantoumirony, people,
Premium Member Poem Night - A Pantoum Lullaby Dietrich, Andrea Pantoummoon, night, poetry,
Premium Member Poem Starlit Diva Ashley, Susan Pantoumfreedom, growth, imagery, journey,
Premium Member Poem Hey Jude - Dedicated to Winged Warrior One, Silent Pantoumlove, music, tribute,

Standard Definition


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