Basic craft : Cooking Up A Pantoum

The Pantoum is a verse form from South East Asia, first used in Europe in 1820. In its original Malay version the first two lines of each verse describe the scene and the last two lines the action.

Cooking up a pantoum is easy, but to get a result you're really proud of will take preparation.

As you can see in the poem patterm, you will only need six good lines for a twelve line poem - a pantoum puffs up like pastry. And because whole lines are repeated there are only 3 rhymes to make. but careful handling makes all the difference.

You will need to choose lines that make sense in two different places!

So it's best to practice with a description rather than a story. Try writing 6 phrases - 3 pairs of rhyming lines - about somewhere. then number the lines - one pair 1 and 2, another 3 and 4, the last pair 5 and 6.

Then fit them into the pattern and read out the result. Do you like it?

Or will moving or swapping lines or writing slightly different ones make it better?

When you've worked out a short description of a place, try making a pantoum about someone doing something - a simple job perhaps, then try a story. There can be as many four line stanzas as you need.

For further information on this sort of game click on games listed under BASIC CRAFT in the INDEX side bar.

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Windows Workshops Dave Calder, The Windows Project ,1997,1998,1999,2009