a poetry contest?
Poetry can move us, explain historic events, and give us insights
different eras of history. Yet many people are afraid of poetry
understand it. The recent limerick contest inspired me to change
some small way. To encourage interest in and understanding of
forms of poetry, as well as encouragement to unleash your creative
would like to offer a small prize for the best sestina, pantoum,
rima poem. The names may sound esoteric and unapproachable,
but they are
actually fairly simple (yet powerful) forms. They rely on repetition
their almost hypnotic effect. And when they are written with
fountain pens, they are even better!
do I need to do?
All you have to do is write an original poem on any subject
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
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!
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.
do I enter?
Simply send entries to email@example.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.
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.
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
7. ECA (envoy)
also insert the B, D and F words inside the three verses in
envoy but this is not required, and some sestinas skip the
Think of the envoy as the equivalent of the couplet at the
end of a sonnet.
(Remember studying those in school?)
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.
(Sestina of Cartaphilus)
(E. Bishop's sestina)
The pantoum is a Malayan poetic form that uses quatrains (stanzas
lines). As with the sestina, there is a certain amount of
you repeat entire lines instead of words. There are slight
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
(explanation of pantoum)
(explanation and example
also think of traditional blues songs as a variation of the
pantoum; such songs often rely on repetition of lines throughout
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
Again, you can use near-rhymes.
(example and explanation)
(example - notice the use of near-rhymes)