national poetry month, poetry, Prompts

National Poetry Month: ghazal

The ghazal! An Arabic poetic form originating from the 7th century that relies on repetition and lingers between the pain of loss and the beauty of love despite the loss. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but incredibly difficult to pull off in English.

ghazals must have at least five rhyming couplets or bayts and can have as many as fifteen. The couplets are linked thematically but not necessarily in situation or story. ghazals thrive in the abstract. Each couplet ends with the same refrain, which rhymes with the first line of the first couplet (AA BA CA, etc.).

There are stringent rules for ghazal forms, but in English, poets often use just those mentioned above as guiding principles.

Agha Shahid Ali is a well known Kashmiri poet whose poem Ghazal can be found here.

A contemporary interpretation of the ghazal appears in Evie Shockley’s poem where you are planted here.

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