Some of the main components of a Ghazal are:

  • Radif (refrain)
  • Qafia (rhyme scheme)
  • Matla (opening couplet)
  • Makhta (author’s signature spin)
  • Autonomous couplets- Autonomy is the idea of freedom each couplet has the power to stand alone on its own and it holds together to the next couplet by disunity
  • minimum 5 couplets- no maximum!

A Ghazal is a form of Arabic poetry, dating back to the seventh century. The Ghazal is created from several autonomous couplets when if removed, does not alter the ghazal’s story as a whole. The overall form of a Ghazal challenges the traditional form of poetry, we know as a narrative. However, the unique form of writing a ghazal requires readers to narrow in to each couplet as it is harder to predict and even harder to analyze.

After better understanding the from of a Ghazal this week one of my favorite aspect of it is the idea of the “Makhta.” The Makhta is essentially the authors signature towards the ending set of couplets. It quite literally, and often times is their name. This can better be understood, Hollander’s Ghazal as he writes, “Now Qafia Radif has grown weary…” (212). Overall, after my time analyzing the Ghazal form, the Makhta stood out to me because traditional poetry really doesn’t have the poets own spin, or even thier signature what so ever.

Ali, Agha Shahid. “Ghazal: To Be Teased Into Disunity.” An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art. Eds. Anne Finch and Kathrine Varnes. Ann Arbor: U. of Michigan Press, 2002.