MOOC 3: A Trio of Pantuoms

Last week’s assignment:

Write a pantoum or a poem with strong meter. In this poem, address a cultural tradition. You can depict this tradition clearly, or you can try to give the reader a strong understanding of what it is without directly describing it. You can celebrate this tradition, or you can condemn it, but try to show the reader the fullness of this tradition: its beauty as well as its ugliness; its place in history as well as its present-day role.

My reaction to last week’s assignment (after figuring out what a pantuom was): WTF?!? At first glance, I decided I hated pantuoms. It made no sense to just chop up a verse or two and rearrange the pieces like a ransom note. But, knowing that I don’t know everything, I gave it a try with an open mind… and fell in love.

On my first try I thought pantuoms must rhyme, so this is my official assignment piece:


Then, after further study and a chat with John Reinhart, I realized pantuoms don’t have to rhyme. So I came up with this:

I had fallen in love with the pantuoms. It takes a fragment of thought and turns it into a surreal journey in verse. Pantuoms are the poetic equivalent of a Salvador Dalí painting—everything merges into a  split reality that that brings metaphor and immediateness together into a hyper realism. Then, I was given a prompt for the 2nd Tuesday Poetry and Music Jam open mic… space heater. This is the result.

What I have learned… pantuoms are wonderful vehicles for fragments of idea. I’m not alone with that thought. Did you know Neil Peart used the form for the lyrics of “The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum),” the fourth track on Rush’s 2007 album Snakes & Arrows, also released as a single.

I think you can still join this Massive Open Online Course. We are in week #4 and the deadline for submission is Sept. 5. Plenty of time!

You can read the rest of my MOOC assignments here:

MOOC 1: Unfelt Flames of Kate Leone

MOOC 2: The Match


About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit or
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2 Responses to MOOC 3: A Trio of Pantuoms

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