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For musings on a messy writing life, the inspiration for Stella Rose, and the arduous journey to publication, along with side rants on family, pets, gardening, Vermont, and various other topics.

Home » Stella Rose in Pantoum

2009 Leonid Meteor by Ed Sweeney
2009 Leonid Meteor Source: Flickr Ed Sweeney

Stella Rose in Pantoum

Happy National Poetry month! Poetry, that most eloquent of written forms, dancing just outside my grasp. I’m so not a poet. But one of our former writing group members is. Whenever it was her turn to facilitate, she led us in poetry activities. One evening she taught us the pantoum discipline:

Stanza 1 A B C D
Stanza 2 B E D F
Stanza 3 E G F H
Stanza 4 G I (or A or C) H J (or A or C)

I was at a pivotal place with Stella Rose, struggling to identify the essence of what this novel was really, really about. I decided to explore this through pantoum, using poetry’s inherent spare and concise nature, as well as the rigor of the pantoum’s form, to find my way to the heart of Stella Rose. This is what happened:

Stella Rose in Pantoum

The meteor is a star at her brightest
Hurtling toward her death.
Stella, I whisper, did you see that?
But she is looking elsewhere.

Hurtling toward her death
Stella says, You must stay right here
But she is looking elsewhere
And I cannot be in two places at once.

Stella says, You must say right here
And take care of what is most precious on earth,
And I cannot be in two places at once.
I say, Yes, I will love what you leave behind.

And take care of what is most precious on earth.
Stella, I whisper, did you see that?
I say, Yes, I will love what you leave behind.
The meteor is a star at her brightest.

This proved to be a challenging and transformative exercise for me and my relationship to the manuscript. Distilling one’s world, real or fiction, down to a handful of carefully chosen words is the power of poetry.

Can you pantoum?

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