The Book Challenge
Everyone who responded to this challenge is a bibliophile: isn’t it natural that a lover of words would also love books? In any case, lovers of words and books should find satisfactions among these poems.
Two aspects of this special issue need comment: (1) David Jalajel’s poem below is not a ghazal but was inspired by the challenge. I’m using it as a proem to this issue because of its evocative technological, economic, historical survey of making books. (2) David Quentin Dauthier provided photos of a renaissance copy of Tacitus; those photos are the source of the decorations in this issue. Quentin says,
Quentin has also provided a page of notes describing the book.
This is a poignant time to celebrate the “book” in ghazals: the advent of e-books and print-on-demand, the greater ease of self-publishing, the possibility to publish a book in paperless format — these and the stresses on copyright, profits, reviews, distribution,
[upload] oblations, PDFs, hand-tooled tomes
[buy] online: ISBN, local binding, used & rare
[identify] patterns, purges, a preface, reviews
[recollect] a common history, terrifying events
[compile] links, known imprints, galley proofs
[schedule] names, ornaments, HTML lists, a code
The Book Ghazal Challenge
Previous challenges focused on form, with a common radif or the Arabic ghazal form. This challenge focuses on a theme — books. Even in an electronic world of text flowing on screens, the book remains valuable for us. We have all been influenced for better or worse by books or by a book.
For this challenge, write a ghazal with the theme “book” or “books.” You may emphasize a specific book, books in general, a genre, a physical type of book. The ghazal you submit should explore the experience of books. For format, you have a number of options, explained below.
Your focus should be a book, several books, or a genre. While you may mention authors (naturally!), please keep the focus on the books. Physical format of the book(s) may also be important: the direction in which your native language is written, for instance, or the type of binding, the type of paper and cover. You might consider eBooks as well.
You have a range of formats to choose from:
- The Persian/Urdu ghazal, with matla, makhta, qafiya, and radif
- A reduced Persian/Urdu ghazal, eschewing one or more the features listed above
- An Arabic ghazal, using microrhyme
- A tercet ghazal, with or without a radif and the other features of the Persian/Urdu ghazal
- A free or open ghazal, using none of the formal features except independent couplets
Please note that the Persian/Urdu ghazal differs from the Arabic in form, although definitions such as Answers.com do not make this distinction.
To be considered for the special issue presenting this challenge, your ghazal must follow the theme and format specifications.
- Submit your ghazal(s) by 31 July 2010
- Send no more than three ghazals in the body of an email, ideally in text-only format
- In your email affirm that the ghazal(s) are your own work that you are submitting for the book challenge
If there are special concerns of format in your ghazals — spacing, style, etc — attach a document that shows the formatting you want. It can be in Word DOC, Open Office, WordPerfect, or PDF format.