Ghazal

The ghazal (pronounced “guzzle”) is a poetic form that was popularised in medieval Persian poetry. It is written in couplets – and in its original form, there must be at least five and not more than fifteen verses. Each couplet ends on the same word or phrase, which appears twice in the first couplet. The final verse typically includes a reference to the poet, often using their own name. Traditionally, the lines are all the same length and metre.

Some examples include ‘Tonight’ by Agha Shahid Ali, who introduced the ghazal in its classical form to the English-speaking world. For a more unconventional ghazal, look at Heather McHugh’s ‘Ghazal of the Better-Unbegun’.