Here's the December issue, a bit late but quite a bit good. My editor's comments are more personal than usual due to my response to the five ghazals presented here and the onset of winter where I live. Feel free to skip my comments, but please read the ghazals — ideally, read them out loud.
I hope to publish the first issue of 2009 in the first week of January. It will have a different design. And please don't overlook the "stone" radif challenge on the main page of The Ghazal Page. Everything from sedimentary to igneous is welcome.
The sugar radif challenge finally makes its appearance. There are 18 ghazals there, with quite different approaches to the use of "sugar" as the radif. While you may not find each of the 18 to your taste, I'm sure there are several that will please you. One would think (a) that writing a poem that repeats the same word or phrase at least six times would be monotonous and (b) that putting 18 poems together all using that same phrase would lead to intense monotony. These ghazals are far from monotonous — and no artificial sweeteners in them either.
The November issue has four good ghazals, with both thematic resonances and contrasts of image and sound. I enjoyed putting them together — choosing these poems to go in this order. My choices are largely intuitive; at least, I make them quickly. I hope you enjoy them.
I've begun putting the special "sugar radif" issue together but haven't made much progress yet. I hope to work on it through the next week. I can guarantee you it will be a sweet issue! When I publish it, I will announce a new radif challenge.
As I write these remarks, the October issue is complete except for the editor's comments. As you look at the poets in the October issue, you may wonder why the four of them also had ghazals in the September issue. There are two reasons: I see thematic connections among these four ghazals, and I am trying to make up for the gap in issues during my hospitalization and recovery. This selection of poems meets both goals.
I hope you will find in these four ghazals the varied satisfactions that I do.
It's been awhile since anything new has been added to the prose section of The Ghazal Page. Now, Niranjan Sarkar has provided two essays on the ghazal, one on the Urdu ghazal, the other on the ghazal and music. These essays clarify some important points. If you have comments or responses, I'd be glad to have them. Either email them to me or add them as comments to Don't Muzzle the Ghazal.
Once more, a variety of styles and voices, but this time a thematic thread through the six ghazals presented. I tried to draw out that thread in my comments on the ghazals. Your results may differ. I'll do a blog post announcing this issue. If you have responses you care to share, please submit them as comments to that post.
I have some ghazals for the sugar radif challenge. There's another month to go: bury me in sugar!
The six ghazals in the August 2008 issues are varied in form and approach but share some essential ghazal themes — romantic love, divine love, the ghazal tradition.
Bill Batcher's "Love Knot" experiments more with the ghazal form than the other five do. The intense repetition of the qafiya and radif tie an intricate knot that (to my ear) expresses the them effectively. To use a term of Freud's, adapted by literary critics, these formal features of Batcher's ghazal are over-determined.
Here's a reminder of the new radif challenge: the radif is "sugar," and the guidelines are on the main page for The Ghazal Page.
The results of the challenge using "moon" as the radif were excellent, as you will see when you read the poems. Because of the success of the first two radif challenges, I'm making it a permanent feature of The Ghazal Page. A new radif challenge is posted on the main page.
The issue is arranged in four pages: New Moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon, and Waning Moon. I used my intuition to decide which poems went on which page and in what order. Because of the "jumps" between couplets, a particular poem may use imagery of more than one phase of the moon; my arrangement is based on my sense of the overall effect of the poems. I hope you are as impressed as I by the range of tones, images, and approaches to the ghazal form in these twenty poems.
If you have comments or responses to any of the poems, you may send them as comments to the blog post announcing this issue. Also, a new radif challenge is posted on the main page.
The special summer issue is ready at last! I plan to leave it linked from the main page at least through August, even though there will be the moon radif challenge results and an August issue. The special summer issue has three pages in order to make it more accessible with shorter files. You will find some familiar names there as well as some new ones. Please check "About the Poets" for more information on most of the poets represented in this issue.
A day or two late, but here's the April issue. Please enjoy!
Having just finished preparing the March issue, including writing the Editor's Comments, I'm sitting here in the chill of "unseasonably" cold temperatures. The temperature applet on my desktop tells me that it's 28 F. outside. There was a light snowfall overnight and a strong northwest wind has persisted all day. Meaning? Meaning the six refreshing spring ghazals in the March issue have helped me be patient as I wait for spring. I hope you will find equal or greater reward in reading them.
I'm assembling the Clouds and Rain special issue and hope to publish it by March 8th. It will have a number of excellent ghazals.
It's cold outside — about as cold as it gets in the Ozarks (but not quite the coldest). The poems in the February issue, though are warm with the ferment of the imagination. Sip them or gulp them, but savor them.
Here's a final reminder of the "clouds and rain" radif challenge. There are still a couple of weeks to go. I will either prepare those ghazals as a separate special issue or as a page within the March or April issue. Send 'em in!
Welcome to the January issue of the 2008 Ghazal Page, with six poems by three poets. You'll have noticed a new appearance to The Ghazal Page. My approach for the 'zine is to create fairly basic HTML, without fancy trappings. I do use some XHTML and a Cascading Style Sheet or two. I hope to explore some more CSS possibilities in 2008 and may do a redesign about half-way through. A few years back, I did a page using some of the positioning possibilities of CSS, and, guess what? The Internet Explorer version then current wouldn't display the layout properly. (Other current browsers would, though.) I'd like to try CSS positioning again.
Don't forget the "clouds and rain" radif challenge!
Interested readers — for instance, seeking permission to reprint a poem — can always contact the poet through me.
These two essays discuss the ghazal as a form of Urdu poetry and the ghazal as a musical form. You will find them very informative.
You will find 20 ghazals here; there are four pages as well as the index page that this link leads to. Enjoy!
Three are three pages in this issue, to represent the three months without an issue of The Ghazal Page.