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.
A key feature of the Pantoum style is that each poem is comprised of four or more stanzas, with the second and final line of each stanza repeating as the first and third line of the following stanza. The uniqueness of this form of poetry allows for duplicating lines to have different meanings depending on the context of the verse in which they are featured. Most Pantoums consist of four stanzas, although more may be used, and it is common to repeat the first and third line from the first verse in the final stanza.
Imperfect Pantoums may also be seen, in these cases, the final stanza does not use the first and third line from the initial verse and instead introduces new lines following the same theme. In the imperfect Pantoum, the verses may instead follow a rhyming template in place of repeating lines between the verses.