Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia - E.L. Doctorow

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Ghazal

Obviously I'm not much of a blogger, as soon as my writing skills are taken up somewhere else I just forget their is bloggin to be done! But, here I am to let you know about 'The Ghazal.'

What Is It?

The ghazal is a lyric poem consisting of thematically autonomous couplets, unified by rhyme and metre. Although it is a 1300 year-old pre-Islamic Persian form, its non-linear format anticipates contemporary post-modern poetic sensibilities. Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians. Ghazal (adapted into Urdu from Persian) is a reference to the cry of a gazelle. Agha Shahid Ali, who introduced it in its classical form to Americans, compared each ghazal couplet to ‘a stone from a necklace,’ which should continue to ‘shine in that vivid isolation.’

English writers tend to interpret the conventions of the ghazal in very personal ways. However, to say that most ghazals observe most or all of these features:

  • between five and fifteen couplets
  • each couplet is structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous
  • in the opening couplet, both the first and second lines close with the refrain (the refrain is a word or brief phrase)
  • subsequent couplets repeat the refrain in the second line (which rhymes with both lines of the first couplet)
  • the final couplet usually includes the poet’s signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet’s own name or a derivation of its meaning
Note on ghazals in translation: numerous scholars and poets have attempted to translate ghazals from their original language to English. The task is daunting, as keeping the literal meaning of each poem while respecting the rhyme, refrain, and length of lines is difficult, if not impossible.

An Example

‘Even the Rain’ by Agha Shahid Ali

What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?

But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain.

‘our glosses / wanting in this world’ ‘Can you remember?’

Anyone! ‘when we thought / the poets taught’ even the rain?

After we died—That was it!—God left us in the dark.

And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain.

Drought was over. Where was I? Drinks were on the house.

For mixers, my love, you’d poured—what?—even the rain.

Of this pear-shaped orange’s perfumed twist, I will say:

Extract Vermouth from the bergamot, even the rain.

How did the Enemy love you—with earth? air? and fire?

He held just one thing back till he got even: the rain.

This is God’s site for a new house of executions?

You swear by the Bible, Despot, even the rain?

After the bones—those flowers—this was found in the urn:

The lost river, ashes from the ghat, even the rain.

What was I to prophesy if not the end of the world?

A salt pillar for the lonely lot, even the rain.

How the air raged, desperate, streaming the earth with


to help burn down my house, Fire sought even the rain.

He would raze the mountains, he would level the waves,

he would, to smooth his epic plot, even the rain.

New York belongs at daybreak to only me, just me—

to make this claim Memory’s brought even the rain.

They’ve found the knife that killed you, but whose prints are these?

No one has such small hands, Shahid, not even the rain.

All credit goes to my poetics course at the University of Queensland for this great information.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Blues Poem

I had my first poetry workshop the other day, and thought it would be a good idea to share the Blues Poem with you... Enjoy!

What Is It?

One of the most popular forms of American poetry, the blues poem stems from the African-American oral tradition and the musical tradition of the blues. The phrase ‘the blues’ is a synonym for having a fit of the blue devils, meaning down spirits, depression and sadness. A blues poem typically takes on themes such as struggle, despair, and sex. African-American writer Ralph Ellison said that although the blues are often about struggle and depression, they are also full of determination to overcome difficulty ‘through sheer toughness of spirit.’ This resilience in the face of hardship is one of the hallmarks of the blues poem. But the blues is about more than hard times; it can be humorous and raunchy as well:

Rebecca, Rebecca, get your big legs off of me,
Rebecca, Rebecca, get your big legs off of me,
It may be sending you baby, but it’s worrying the hell out of me.


There are few characteristics common to all blues, because the genre takes its shape from the idiosyncrasies of individual performances. The original lyrical form of the blues was probably a single line, repeated three times. It was only later that it evolved into the current, most common structure:

 a statement is made in the first line
 a variation is given in the second line
 and an ironic alternative is declared in the third line.

An example:
‘St. Louis Blues’ by WC Handy

I hate to see that evenin’ sun go down,
I hate to see that evenin’ sun go down,
’Cause my baby has left this town.

If I’m feelin’ tomorrow, just like I feel today,
If I’m feelin’ tomorrow, like I feel today,
I’ll pack my trunk and make my get-away.

St. Louis woman, with all her diamond rings,
Stole that man of mine, by her apron strings;
If it wasn’t for powder, and her store-bought hair,
That man I love wouldn’t’ve gone nowhere!

I’ve got the St. Louis blues, just as blue as I can be;
Lord, that man’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea,
Or else he wouldn’t have gone so far from me!

Gee, I love that man like a school boy loves his pie,
Just like an old Kentucky colonel loves his rock & rye,
I guess I’ll love that man until the day I die.

And a song...

All credit goes to my poetics course at the University of Queensland for the great info.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Runaways

I've been out of blogging commission for a while. But, hopefully with my new uni semester started I can keep the blogging up because I'm going to have lots of writing to share. I'm doing 3 writing courses this semester--screenwriting, poetry, and writing for the professions. It looks like it's going to be a good semester, but than again I say that most semesters and when assessment roles around I'm cursing somebody, lol.

Not long ago I went to see "The Runaways". I didn't know what to expect from it, but really great movie, and I loved the music! It was based on the all girl late-seventies band The Runaways. Maybe it was a girl thing, but I definitely felt for the girls going through what they had to at such a young age and male dominated industry. And I have to mention again the MUSIC was AWESOME. I still can't get Cherry Bomb or Roxy Roller out of my head...maybe I was born in the wrong era.

Here's a little Cherry Bomb...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Author of Note: Jacqueline Carey

I admire a person who can create another world intricately just from the recesses of their mind. Jacqueline Carey is one of those people I admire. The world she creates for her readers in the Kushiel's Legacy series is spectacular. Terre d'Ange (with the motto of "Love as thou wilt") is on my list of places to visit if someone ever finds a way for books to become reality.

Her first book in the Kushiel's Legacy series Kushiel's Dart is a must read for any fantasy novelist reader. Carey mixes sex, religion, adventure, conspiracies, and romance all into her Kushiel series. And I might add, Carey is a great writer that pulls you in, and makes you want more and more and more. I'm reading Kushiel's Dart again, and all I can say is I'm falling in love all over again! lol.

Kushiel's Dart follows Phèdre nó Delaunay, a women with a scarlet mote in her left eye... Sold into servitude, and than purchased again by a nobleman, who recognises something no one else can see... She is pricked by Kushiel's Dart, a fate where she is to experience pain and pleasure as one... Although her nobleman has other plans for her...

Carey definitely knows how to grab my attention with her writing, and I'm glad to have found her books. The Kushiel's Legacy series are her most well known works, though she has just recently released Santa Olivia, a tale set in near-future Texas.

Careys work is something you do not want to miss out on!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fire...A Review

When I don't blog in a considerable amount of time, about a week, you can safely assume I'm stuck in another land or era. So, besides working to put uni books on my table I've been immersed in a few good books.

I've been waiting to read Fire by Kirstin Cashore the prequel to Graceling for some time, but haven't had the time. I absolutely loved Graceling and the world Cashore created for us in her first novel, and I wasn't sure what to expect from Fire, but it certainly surpassed my expectations, which is a welcome surprise.

As the title suggests Cashore's latest novel is based on Fire, a beautiful monster creature living in the Dells across the mountains from the 7 kingdoms. Fire is the last of her kind and much sought after, dead or alive, for her abilities with mind control. Most importantly Fire has to prove to herself she is not her father and is actually a beautiful monster inside and out.

So, if your stuck for something to read this winter or summer, depending on what side of the hemisphere your on, you should definitely pick up Fire and than Graceling because they are both great books.

Before I go a big shout out to the first recipient of the Writer Wisdom Award, WritingNut, for the thought provoking posts she provides.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Congratulations ANGIE!

Yes that's right Angie from "Notes from the Writing Chair" you've won! If you could please email me at ----- telling me which book you would like, and what magical land to send it off to that would be great, thanks : )

Another contest will be held when I hit 100 followers!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Last chance to enter the contest!

WARNING...The contest is officially over in one day, so if you want the chance to win one of the 3 books stated go here and leave a comment. You have better chances of winning this than the lotto, so why not join in.

Have a great weekend!