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Craft, Poetry Prompts

Monday Poetry Prompt

This week’s prompt: write a ghazalghazal I

The Ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets, between 5 – 15 couplets. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain.

Happy Writing!

ghazal II


  1. Each couplet should be able to stand alone, as if it were its own poem. In some ways, this is good news, because you don’t have to be responsible for creating a narrative.

2. It is common in ghazals for the poet’s name to be featured in the first line of the last verse.

3. The first couplet ends with the same word (bold added for teaching purposes):

Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell tonight?
Whom else from rapture’s road will you expel tonight?

4. The first couplet introduces a rhyme *inside* the lines, right before the final word. For example, check out this opening stanza from Agha Shahid Ali’s “Call Me Ishmael Tonight” (bold and italics added for teaching purposes):

Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell tonight?
Whom else from rapture’s road will you expel tonight?

Note that this is the poem’s first couplet, so each line ends with the same word—tonight. The rhyme falls right before the end word: spell rhymes with expel.

5. The end word will now repeat at the end of every *second* line of the rest of the couplets. Here is another sample from Ali’s poem:

My rivals for your love– you’ve invited them all?
This is mere insult, this is no farewell tonight.

Note that tonight is at the end of the second line. See the rhyming word right before it? Farewell rhymes with spell and expel, the rhyme first introduced at the beginning of the poem.

6. If the poet chooses to insert his or her name, it is often accompanied by a “turn” (a shift in thought), sometimes humorous or odd. If you prefer to keep your name out of the matter, you could still add a “turn,” perhaps at the juncture of an image you closely identify with.



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