Matt Warren, contributor and Gene’s son
Once upon a time in 1998, Gene Warren Doty published a collection of his poems, Zero: Thirty Ghazals. In those days, the Twin Towers were bustling with accountants, Apple was a has-been struggling to survive, and the ghazal was a poetic form little known in English and very vaguely defined.
Zero was the last of Gene’s ten published compilations of his own poetry. The literary efforts of his remaining years were devoted mainly to presenting the works of others in The Ghazal Page (then at ghazalpage.net), starting with just three ghazals by two poets in August 1999. Nearly 16 years later, the English ghazal is much more widely known and has taken a more definite yet flexible form, informed by Classical tradition and by the explorations of scores of excellent poets.
Although by 2014, Gene had decided to retire from The Ghazal Page, he was always open to the possibility that someone else would take it on. Had his health not declined so much during his final year, he would likely have pursued this possibility more vigorously. As a sometimes-contributor and as his son, I am glad to see The Ghazal Page continue under the leadership of Holly Jensen; I believe that Gene would also have been pleased.
Changes are to be expected with new management, as Gene well knew. But some things remain the same: The Ghazal Page will still host good new poetry and ongoing experimentation within the ghazal form. I am grateful to Holly (and to others who have helped out) for renewing my father’s most prominent project; like many others, I wait eagerly to see the new Ghazal Page take flight.
Matt Warren, 2015
Issue 56 teems with 50 poems by writers from four continents. You’ll find traditional Persian ghazals of every variation, experimental ghazals (in particular, Karla Linn Merrifield prods, pushes, and plays with conventions and Dawn V. Randall further fragments the form), tercet, free verse, hybrid, and even a collaborative poem… Introduction by Holly Jensen.