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Issue 37

Astronomy challenge – 2011

Thoughts, like meteors, draw lines in the sky connecting stars and human lives. All the constellations are artifacts of our cultures —
poetry, myth, science. Human languages infest the heavens as we name planets, stars, constellations, moons, galaxies … we see ourselves
reflected and speak the names of our desires and fears. These poems also draw lines that connect.

“As above, so below.” Every existing thing a gem in Indra’s Net, each gem reflecting all the others while remaining itself. The eighteen ghazals in this issue form a small but glowing strand of Indra’s Jewel Net.

The Astronomy Challenge

The theme of the new challenge is astronomy. As with the books challenge, the astronomy challenge focuses on a theme rather than a common radif or format. (See under “The Format” the formal possibilities for this challenge. You may submit up to three ghazals on some astronomical theme. The form of the ghazals may be “traditional” (Persian/Urdu), Arabic, tercets, “free,” or some variation of any of these. Note that a “free” ghazal must be in couplets or single long lines and have “jumps” between couplets or lines.

The Theme

Astronomy is an encompassing topic, including planets, stars, asteroids, comets, nebulae, galaxies, dark matter, supernovae, black holes, quantum foam, string theory, constellations, auroras, space vehicles, even our sun and moon — anything beyond the earth’s atmosphere, even perceived from down at the bottom of this lovely gravity well.

The Ghazal Page has published several examples of ghazals with astronomical themes: “Leonard’s Moon,” by Taylor Graham, “Of Stars,” by David Lunde, and the results of a challenge with the radif “moon.” These are examples of traditional Persian/Urdu ghazals. Here’s an example of a free ghazal, with fourteen-syllable lines. It also has a signature couplet.

The Format

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 do not make this distinction.

The Rules

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 December 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.

Juliet Wilson Crazy Heavens
Starry Skies
Taylor Graham Look Up
A Child’s Primer
Ghazal Galactic
Ruth Foley Moon Ghazal
Robert Gifford Exalted
Linda Umans ghazal for Comet Hale-Bopp, 1997
Sue Melot Hour Glass Ghazal
Strange Matters
Dennis Mahagin Light Year Ghazal
Hubble Ghazal
Michael Helsem no one hears it
Holly Jensen Dark Matter Ghazal
Star Ghazal
Robert Godwin Stuff of Stars
Great Theia, Come and Gone
Tree Riesener Red Rectangle Nebula

About larrygates

Web developer of Ghazal Page. Sometime pseudonymous ghazalkar.