September 2010 – Equinox Issue
Welcome to the first quarterly issue of The Ghazal Page and a new ghazal challenge! The quarterly issues will be a bit more like the special issues than the monthly ones. In the September issue, you’ll find excellent ghazals by Carl Schmottlach and Syed Faizan. While the quarterly issues are coordinated with the solstices and the equinoxes, they will not have seasonal themes (unless someone submits some good seasonal ghazals). The new challenge is truly cosmic; I look forward to your ghazals submitted for it.
The two poets presented here have provided comments on their ghazals, giving some background on their formal approaches. These comments are helpful for us who want to develop the ghazal as a form in poetry written in English. For the future, I welcome similar comments by other poets whose ghazals appear here.
Carl Schmottlach’s five ghazals explore the relationships between pain and time, loss and renewal. Despite his eschewel of the monorhyme (qafiya) and refrain (radif), the sound-patterns are important in these ghazals in expressing the meanings. The imagery is also expressive (as it should be); I especially relish the hymnal board in the empty church and the “heathen mice.”
Syed Faizan’s four ghazals are in the tradition of the Urdu ghazal of the 19th century, but the themes resonate with those of Carl Schmottlach’s ghazals: loss, pain, despair — with the addition of wine (forbidden to the Muslim, beloved of the ecstatic poet) and a stronger mystical theme and epigrammatic tone. At the end, beauty, divine and human, renew the poet.
These 9 poems are missing.