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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NaPoWriMo Day Thirteen 2017: What I've learned about Ghazals

Day Thirteen:  What I've learned about Ghazals So Far

Today's  prompt is to write a ghazal, a form NaPoWriMo says originated in Arabic and Persian poetry. According to,  the ghazal "is composed of a minimum of five couplets—and typically no more than fifteen—that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous."  There are other modified definitions out there, including using the same or similar second line throughout. I just use what works for the ghazal at hand. The form of simply a series of couplets, seems to be becoming more popular in English language writing these days, --I enjoy the ghazal because it has some discipline of a given/chosen/defined form, along with the freedom to combine a variety of thoughts, line and poem lengths,  and the option to rhyme or not to rhyme. 

 I've written several perhaps a dozen of ghazals, a couple of which, I think, 'work.' Although, one writing teacher paused at the fact that my poems seemed to address themes, rather than consisting of relatively random, unrelated verses not, or not related beyond sharing a topic or mood...(what's the difference between that and "a theme"?!)

Ideally, "both lines of the first couplet end with the same phrase or endword, [which] is also repeated at the end of each couplet...[and the poem includes] internal rhymes[,] a reference to your own name in the final couplet." (from NaPoWriMo Day Fourteen challenge).

Ghazals have traditionally consisted of laments, thoughts about love, or drinking thoughts (?). One tradition in writing a ghazal is to include a question, request, plea, or lament addressed to God or a higher power in the last couplet, as well as incorporating the author's name or reference. Modern or American ghazals often take more liberties (those Americans!), but retain the couplet format.

Oh, and did I say that, ghazals can be fun?!

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