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Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In recent years, the ghazal (pronounced "ghuzzle"), a traditional Arabic form of poetry, has become popular among contemporary English language poets. But like the haiku before it, the ghazal has been widely misunderstood and thus most English ghazals have been far from the mark in both letter and spirit. This anthology brings together ghazals by a rich gathering of 107 ...more
Paperback, 195 pages
Published November 3rd 2000 by Wesleyan University Press (first published October 1st 2000)
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Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This book is interesting in that it shows you how much can be done with the ghazal. Some of the poems are very good, but some, for me, show up the weaknesses a ghazal is prone to, mostly in being forced.
There are a number of ghazals from William Matthews whereas two would have been enough. He's a terrific poet but here he became tedious.
If you're interested in writing ghazals, this is great to have since it shows what works and what doesn't.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent guide to Ghazals, and way to understand the difficulty of capturing this form in English.
It is not "just" couplets with a repeated ending, a mid-line rhyme -- a necklace of disparate pearls held together by a common thread, but a way to speak to universal truths, ending with a reference to the author.

Jul 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Not only the best resource and anthology on this Urdu poetic form, it's one of the very few. The late Agha Shahid Ali worked to bring this form into the English Language and American poetry. Plus, he's also working to correct misconceptions about the form that have lingered since the 1960s/70s.
Benjamin Kass
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I like ghazals. I don't like quite a few of these. Some of them wore me down so that I couldn't turn to the next page.
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
On the whole, this is a cool anthology. Several poets here interpret the ghazal liberally, creating a poem that more mimics a formal structure of repetition than a poem that employs repetition as a form of meditation. In this interpretation these poems invest in a narrative alien to the ghazal in its native context. I point this out not to say it is a bad thing. It is entertaining to see in a single anthology of contemporary poetry the changes, trends, modulations, and developments of a form for ...more
sarah louise
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
although I agree with Ali's introductory claims that American & English-language poets have "gotten it wrong", I disagree with his avenue toward getting it right——we should absolutely be more aware of the formal restraints of the ghazal, but I think we should be more familiar with the history, brilliant examples, performative context, and spirit of the ghazal. we just should be, in general. then, maybe, we can consider writing some of our own, and resisting/expanding the form.

the poetry in
Sep 14, 2009 added it
I've just reread/explored this book. I like it less than my initial contact with the book only because the contents contradict the title. But I really love the ghazal form and I adore Shahid Ali. Therefore, I'm willing to push on...
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: browsed-heavily
Wish I'd read the whole thing... Still, an enlightening read.
May 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Madeline by: Maan Kapoor
Some of these are really great and some of them are not, and some of them (despite the subtitle) like to play with the form. An interesting read, though.
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Agha Shahid Ali (आगा शाहीद अली) was an American poet of Kashmiri ancestry and upbringing.

His poetry collections include A Walk Through the Yellow Pages, The Half-Inch Himalayas, A Nostalgist's Map of America, The Country Without a Post Office, Rooms Are Never Finished (finalist for the National Book Award, 2001). His last book was Call Me Ishmael Tonight, a collection of English ghazals. His poems