Fastening My Seatbelts

Because this ride is clearly going to be much bumpier than I’d anticipated. Happy start to National Poetry Month, everyone! Welcome to my April 1st post … which has no poem.


Yes, so … what had happened was … I discovered that ghazal’s are trickier than I’d imagined. I mean, every form I’ve tried for my April poetry excursion has been trickier than I’d thought it would be … but learning more about the ghazal and then sitting down and trying to actually write one? Yes, that’s proved to be beyond me for tonight.

I’ll keep at it and catch up this missed day along the way between now and the 30th, but this is a frustrating start.

To get us all on the same page, here’s the Poetry Foundation’s description of a ghazal:

Originally an Arabic verse form dealing with loss and romantic love, medieval Persian poets embraced the ghazal, eventually making it their own. Consisting of syntactically and grammatically complete couplets, the form also has an intricate rhyme scheme. Each couplet ends on the same word or phrase (the radif), and is preceded by the couplet’s rhyming word (the qafia, which appears twice in the first couplet). The last couplet includes a proper name, often of the poet’s. In the Persian tradition, each couplet was of the same meter and length, and the subject matter included both erotic longing and religious belief or mysticism.

The rhyme scheme described here is actually different from what I thought I’d be working with this month, and I’ve run aground on it over and over again as I tried to write tonight. Lesson one: don’t leave writing your poem until 10pm.

The Poetry Foundation offers up examples of the ghazal, and I really liked “Tonight” by Agha Shahid Ali … and found “Even the Rain,” another beauty from Ali, on the Academy of American Poets site. And, while these poems make more that much more interested in this form, they also made the form seem that much more challenging to take on. Lesson two: don’t study gorgeous examples immediately before trying to scratch and scrabble your way through a first draft.

And so we begin.

3 thoughts on “Fastening My Seatbelts

  1. Lainie Levin

    Reading your posts always makes me wish I were pushing myself a little bit more. Not in a self-critical way, but more in gratitude that there are folks like you who live the example of learning and trying new things.

    However your ghazal turns out, I”ll be excited to read it – and inspired to push my own boundaries. Thank you!


Your turn ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s