Issue 16c – special issue
Yet another essay from David Jalajel, this one presenting the historical development of the ghazal from pre-Islamic Arabic through its important development in Persian to its contemporary dispersal around the world.
David Jalajel has compiled material from his previous three articles into a set of “rules” for applying features of the Arabic ghazal in English. Rules is in quotation marks because of the disclaimer David prefaces them with. Rules should invite and inspire rather than restricting and binding. I hope you feel the invitation of these rules and are inspired to write some ghazals based on them — and to share the results with me.
Please note that David’s articles and my publishing them are not intended to “prove” anything against the Persian ghazal for which Agha Shahid Ali was such an elequent advocate. Please continue submitting a variety of ghazal possibilities to The Ghazal Page.
The topic of enjambment in Arabic poetry is complicated by the mid-line pause, the caesura. David Jalajel explains the issues in a way that is both informative and helpful for those seeking to understand and to write ghazals in English.
The essay on Arabic rhyme and its possibilities for English ghazals is a detailed expansion of part of David Jalajel’s essay, “English Ghazals Based on Arabic Forms.” I hope you will find it rewarding and provocative. I’ll be interested in any experiments you make along these lines.
The ghazal’s introduction into English has been a slow and confusing process. David Jalajel’s essay with ghazals makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the ghazal in its origins. The information he provides on the ghazal form complements and extends (as well as differing from) information provided by writers such as Agha Shahid Ali, , and Abhay Avachat. My own early tried to bring together what I knew several years ago.
This is not the place for me to take up the discussion of what a ghazal in English should be. If you have responses to Jalajel’s essay, please send them to me, and I will try to make a place for them.