Pumping up the Pantoum poetry class with Donald Levering
In just 3 hours, you can learn to make this powerful poetic form your own!
Saturday, May 30, 2020
11 am - 2 pm
The pantoum originated as a Malaysian poetry form that involves a specific pattern of repeating lines. It was
discovered in the West by Victor Hugo, adopted by Baudelaire, and championed by contemporary American
poets such as Carolyn Kizer, John Ashbery, Marilyn Hacker, and Donald Justice. The form promotes poems of
imaginative narrative or obsessional description. Pantoums were originally an oral form and their power of outloud
presentation persists among contemporary literary examples.
In this workshop we will study several pantoums in a range of styles and voices and learn ways that the form’s
repetition can be varied to pump-up interest and elevate what’s at stake. By carefully crafting repeated
statements in the pantoum form, writers can engender poems with strong
musical and emotional effects.
Donald Levering won the 2018 Carve Poetry Prize, judged by Carmen
Jeménez Smith. In 2017, Eavan Boland selected him winner of the Tor House
Robinson Jeffers Award. Previous honors include a NEA fellowship and the
Quest for Peace rhetoric award. His selected poems, in two volumes, Any Song
Will Do and Previous Lives, was published by Red Mountain Press. A prior
collection, Coltrane’s God, was Runner-up in the New England Book Festival
contest. He has volunteered with Earthwatch and Enkosini on species
preservation projects. He lives in Santa Fe, where he volunteers as a US