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Pentrace Poetry Competition

Details of our sponsored competition
Why a poetry contest?
Poetry can move us, explain historic events, and give us insights into
different eras of history. Yet many people are afraid of poetry or don't
understand it. The recent limerick contest inspired me to change that in
some small way. To encourage interest in and understanding of different
forms of poetry, as well as encouragement to unleash your creative voice, I
would like to offer a small prize for the best sestina, pantoum, or terza
rima poem. The names may sound esoteric and unapproachable, but they are
actually fairly simple (yet powerful) forms. They rely on repetition for
their almost hypnotic effect. And when they are written with
fountain pens, they are even better!

What do I need to do?
All you have to do is write an original poem on any subject using the
sestina, pantoum, or terza rima form. Some deviation from the form is fine,
as long as you're pretty close to the main form. Poems can be about pens or
not, humorous or not. Remember, I want to encourage you to explore poetry
and your creativity. It's not a test and there will be no grades, no red
pens. Tell your inner critic or inner judge to shut up and have a martini,
and dive in. Enjoy the process!

What's in it for me?
Besides the satisfaction of creating, the author of the poem voted best by
Pentrace members will receive a Waterman Lady Garland pen. The pen is a
lever filler from the 1940s, Canadian, with a semi-hooded fine nib, black
barrel, and gold-filled (?) cap. The cap is etched near the edge with an
arrow-like design. Purchased from Sam Fiorella at Pendemonium, so you know
it's in good shape. Good condition, nice pen, solid writer.

How do I enter?
Simply send entries to poetry@pentrace.com. Entries can be sent as text, in the body of the email, as a Word document or even as HTML


How do I vote?
A voting form will be available on the Pentrace site which will allow controlled voting by button.

When is the deadline?
Entries should be posted no later than September 30. Voting will then take place
from October 3 to October 8. The winner will be announced by October 15.

What's a sestina?
The sestina is a poem with six stanzas of six lines each, followed by an
envoy of three lines. The lines of the stanzas end in the same six words, as
follows:
1. ABCDEF
2. FAEBDC
3. CFDABE
4. ECBFAD
5. DEACFB
6. BDFECA.
7. ECA (envoy)

You may also insert the B, D and F words inside the three verses in the
envoy but this is not required, and some sestinas skip the envoy altogether.
Think of the envoy as the equivalent of the couplet at the end of a sonnet.
(Remember studying those in school?)

Although the sestina is often used solely as a poetic exercise, it can be a
wonderful form of expression; the word repetition gives it a sort of
undulating rhythm. Note that you can "cheat" by using approximations of the
end words; for example, if your word is "earth," you might use "earthen."
Or you can use a word like "tears," using it in one place to mean crying and
another to mean ripping.

http://www.jbit.com/isaac.htm (Sestina of Cartaphilus)
http://math.nwu.edu/~tran/Poems/Sestina.html (E. Bishop's sestina)

What's a pantoum?
The pantoum is a Malayan poetic form that uses quatrains (stanzas of four
lines). As with the sestina, there is a certain amount of repetition, only
you repeat entire lines instead of words. There are slight variations, but
this is the basic form. Notice that the first line of the poem becomes the
last line. You can have as many stanzas as you like, but four is a good
manageable number.

Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4

Line 2
Line 5
Line 4
Line 6

Line 5
Line 7
Line 6
Line 8

Line 7
Line 3
Line 8
Line 1


http://kalliope.hypermart.net/pantoum.html (explanation of pantoum)
http://poetree.virtualave.net/workshop/pantoum.html (explanation and example
of pantoum)

You might also think of traditional blues songs as a variation of the
pantoum; such songs often rely on repetition of lines throughout the song.

What's terza rima?
Terza rima is a form consisting of tercets (three-line stanzas) that have an
interlaced rhyme scheme (ABA, BCB, CDC, and so on). As you might guess from
the name, it's an Italian form. There is no limit on the number of tercets.
Again, you can use near-rhymes.

http://www.cc.emory.edu/ENGLISH/classes/Handbook/terzarima.html (example and explanation)
http://www.morpo.com/v2i5/woman.html (example - notice the use of near-rhymes)

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