Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More on Ghazals: Review of Ghazal: In Silence by Mimi Khalvati


Ghazal: In Silence by Mimi Khalvati was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on March 6, 2013.  It is a traditional ghazal with the radif "in silence" and two qafias, "-ought" and "-ort" resulting in an interesting rhyme scheme.  The lines do not have the same number of words as I thought a ghazal should, however, there are 11 syllables in every line, which makes more sense than having the number of words be equal IMHO, and is probably what the essayist meant in the Poets.org post when he wrote "each line must be of the same length."  So, I live and learn.  

I have tinkered with the ghazal form from time to time since I discovered its existence last year (see "On Ghazals and Haiku" posted November 29, 2012 in Songs of Eretz).  According to my latest research (books.google.com/books?isbn=8120718267, Kanda, K. C. - 1995 - Literary Criticism), the use of the qafia and radif is common in ghazals in the Urdu language, so I suspect that Ms. Khalvati is trying to imitate this subset of the form in English--and she succeeds.  I may devote the next few weeks to this type of ghazal as well.  Lots of rules to follow, which will be restrictive, but the results, if In Silence in any measure, should be worth the effort.

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