Glossary

Term: Pantoum


The pantoum (or pantun) is a verse form of Malay origin, which has been adopted by European writers since the early 19th century. Each four-line stanza, or quatrain, has a pattern of alternately rhyming lines, abab. The second and fourth line of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next, until at the end of the poem the form comes full circle, with the first and third lines of the first stanza used, in reverse order, as the second and fourth lines of the last ? or, as the poet Marilyn Hacker says, "until it ends up with its tail in its mouth".

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