A ghazal is an Arabic/Persian/Urdu poetic form that has become popular among poets writing in English. In its English version, the ghazal is made up of at least five stanzas of two-line verses with the same meter and with a rhyme scheme of aa ba ca da ea.... Some works that deviate from this traditional pattern are called "bastard" ghazals.
The traditional Arabic ghazal is usually about love that is unattainable or unrequited, though contemporary writers have used the form to deal with social/political issues (Marilyn Hacker's "Ghazal: The Dark Times" is an example). You may also find other modern ghazals in the Poetry Foundation website. Here's an example of a ghazal, one that is about the writing of ghazals:
Ghazal on Ghazals
For couplets the ghazal is prime; at the end
Of each one’s a refrain like a chime: “at the end.”
But in subsequent couplets throughout the whole poem,
It’s this second line only will rhyme at the end.
One such a string of strange, unpronounceable fruits,
How fine the familiar old lime at the end!
All our writing is silent, the dance of the hand,
So that what it comes down to’s all mime, at the end.
Dust and ashes? How dainty and dry! We decay
To our messy primordial slime at the end.
Two frail arms of your delicate form I pursue,
Inaccessible, vibrant, sublime at the end.
You gathered all manner of flowers all day,
But your hands were most fragrant of thyme, at the end.
There are so many sounds! A poem having one rhyme?
—A good life with sad, minor crime at the end.
Each new couplet’s a different ascent: no great peak,
But a low hill quite easy to climb at the end.
Two armed bandits: start out with a great wad of green
Thoughts, but you’re left with a dime at the end.
Each assertion’s a knot which must shorten, alas.
This long-worded rope of which I’m at end.
Now Qafia Radif has grown weary, like life,
At the same he’s been wasting his time at. THE END.
Are you ready to write your own ghazal? This will be part of your poetry collection due at term's end, so make sure it falls within your concept for your collection. Write your draft and upload it using this form.
CW 120 or "Poetry I" is a three-unit course that focuses on "the art of poetry, particularly that of modern poetry, including a survey of the growth of its techniques" (2011 Academic Catalogue) and as " a workshop [course] on the traditional forms of poetry" (Revised BAE Curriculum). Students taking this course must have taken 12 units of English/Literature courses or accomplished a Consent of Instructor form.
The course aims to hone the students' poetic craft through the critical reading and discussion of selected texts, and through the production of individual poetry collections to be submitted for critiquing in workshop sessions. By the end of the semester, students should have:
The course is classified as a lecture and workshop class. Students will present their individual works for critiquing by their peers, and are expected to present a portfolio of their revised works at the end of the term. Students are also expected to have read selected materials to be taken up during class discussions and workshop sessions. Thus, students should come to class prepared for the scheduled discussion or workshop sessions.
Students must also refrain from missing classes and scheduled activities. They may refer to the University's Student Handbook regarding policies on absences and its corresponding penalties. They are also cautioned against plagiarism. Students commit plagiarism when they present as their own someone else’s work or ideas. Papers or projects suspected of plagiarism will be returned to students for revision. Repeated offenses will result in, depending on the gravity of the case: (1) a failing mark for the activity, (2) a failing mark for the course, (3) possible suspension/expulsion of students concerned (University policies will apply for the latter case). The rule for late submission will apply for plagiarized papers/projects returned for revision. Other forms of intellectual dishonesty will not be tolerated.
Students may access sources on the poetic craft as well as poetry collections found online or at the University Library. Some titles available at the University and CHSS Libraries are listed below. Specific titles of materials to be taken up during class discussions are listed in the course matrix.
Students will be assessed through formative and summative evaluation activities. However, only summative activities will be graded. Formative assessment will include participation in class discussions and workshop sessions. Summative assessment activities will include leading class discussions or workshop sessions, peer editing of poems discussed during workshop sessions, and the students’ final portfolios of their collection of poems organized around a thematic/conceptual framework.
Works for summative assessment submitted beyond the deadline will be marked one grade level down for each calendar day it is late.
Students’ performance will be assessed through formative and summative evaluations. Students’ output for summative assessments will be evaluated according to the rubric for specific activities (distributed prior to the activity). A student’s rating will be computed according to its corresponding percentage of the final grade: leading class discussions and workshop sessions (30%); peer editing of drafts (30%); and the final portfolio (40%).
The class meets twice a week, for one and a half hours per session, over a sixteen-week period, not counting dates for the final examination period (which will serve as deadline for the submission of final portfolios). After an orientation to the course, the class will proceed to the discussion of the following topics, and culminating in the workshop and revision sessions:
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