“drowning ghazals” by Denver Butson

Ghazal” (pronounced ‘guzzle’) is a poetic form which originated in 7th Century Arabia but is a popular form of lyrical composition throughout the Arabic-, Pashto-, Hindi-, and Urdu-speaking world. The ghazal has numerous rules, and it was only after poet Denver Butson assigned his workshop students to write one that he himself tried his hand at it. As he explains in his Willow Springs profile, he wrote dozens (“possibly a hundred”) of “incomplete” ghazals before he befriended a master of the form, the late Persian poet Agha Shahid Ali, who helped him see why his previous attempts failed and who later would publish two of Butson’s “more correct” ghazals in the anthology Ravishing Disunities: Real Ghazals in English.

These poems were originally published in Willow Springs 61.
butsonghazals 1

butsonghazals 2

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