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Issue 47

Ekphrastic Challenge Issue

The ghazals selected from the ekphrastic challenge are now online. They constitute the last issue for 2012, making an excellent closing for a year that has seen publication of excellent ghazals, some of them challenging the form and the concept of poetry. I hope for equal quality in 2013, along with a more consistent publishing schedule.

Please see the new policy for submitting ghazals and send me your best!

Ekphrastic poetry represents a work of non-literary art, such as painting, sculpture, or music. An ekphrastic ghazal may describe the work of art, or it may echo aspects of the art-work through the wording and structure of the poem. There are examples of both approaches in these ghazals, including some that blend both approaches.

The results of the ekphrastic challenge — a dozen poems by seven poets — are excellent examples of poems related to works of art in other media. The artworks range from the well-known — Cezanne, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Antoni Tapies — to less-known artists, and one piece of music, Fugitive Visions, by Prokofiev. Formally, these ghazals are in the Persian form, except for the tercet ghazals by Kay Weeks and Caroline Gill. Each of the twelve poems will reward careful reading in relation to the artwork related to it.

Although there’s currently no blog connected with The Ghazal Page, please send your comments and responses to me. I will see that they are published here.

The Ghazal Page will continue to publish in 2013, with a new schedule for the regular issues with corresponding submission policies. I encourage you to read these ghazals with the accompanying art and try your hand at an ekphrastic ghazal. You may submit the poem(s) for one of the regular issues.

There will also be challenges in 2013, to be announced after the first of the year. I hope to have a guest editor for at least one of them.

Disclaimer about Use of Images

A small image of the art-work each ghazal deals with is presented just above the ghazal. The copyright for these works is most likely owned by either the artist who produced the image, the person who commissioned the work, or subsequent owners. We believe our use, on The Ghazal Page, of low-resolution images of such works for critical or creative commentary on them or their genre qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other use might be copyright infringement.

The Ekphrastic Challenge

Ekphrasis is the representation of one work of art through another work of art in a different medium. The challenge here is to use a ghazal to represent a non-literary work of art, like a painting, sculpture, installation, artifact, or specific piece of music. Many poets have written ekphrastic poems. Here are two examples by David Jalajel, including commentary and a links to another explanation with several examples.

There are two possible approaches. The first is to use words to describe a work of art. The second is to try to emulate various aspects of the particular work through the linguistic and structural aspects of the poem. Of course, these two approaches can be combinedin a single ghazal.


  • Up to three ekphrastic ghazals may be submitted
  • The subject of each ghazal must be a specific work of art. It may be a visual work of art or a piece of music, but not another literary work
  • The ekphrasis can describe the work of art, emulate it, or both
  • If the ghazal deals with a visual artwork, it should be accompanied by an image of the artwork that can be published. If the work is a piece of music, a suitable image should also be provided (e.g. of the composer or the score)


You have a range of formats to choose from:

  • The Persian/Urdu ghazal, with matla, makhta, qafiya, and radif
  • A reduced Persian/Urdu ghazal, omitting one or more the features listed above
  • An Arabic ghazal, using microrhyme, slant rhyme, or full rhyme
  • 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 15 June 2012
  • 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 ekphrastic challenge
  • Also, affirm that the ghazals in your submission have not been published elsewhere and are not currently under consideration elsewhere

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.

William Dennis Nightscape
Forty Three Bars
Kay Weeks Card Players
Taylor Graham Le Lac d’ Annecy
Gran Pintura
Wheat Field with Crows
Roger Sedarat I Am Its Secret
Sue Melot Fugitive Visions
Linda Umans First Steps ghazal
I have this cat
Caroline Gill Coat Collage

About larrygates

Web developer of Ghazal Page. Sometime pseudonymous ghazalkar.