Archive for the ‘Ghazal Games’ Category
PBS Frontline: Tehran Bureau:
by Aria Fani
[ spotlight ] Roger Sedarat’s poems reflect his mixed identities as an Iranian American. Using the formal characteristics of the ghazal, he masterfully recreates the qualities of classical Persian verse in the English language. He could be considered a successor to poets such as Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001), a Kashmiri American who authored several collections of ghazals in English. Sedarat brings the musicality of the ghazal into the lighthearted atmosphere of his English verse. He has an enviable command of language and creates narratives that are imaginative and sincere.
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by Tara Mokhtari
“Experimenting with traditional poetic form is not a new concept. John Keats wrote his poem ‘On the Sonnet’ warning of the dangers of constraining the ‘muse’ to strict form. Imagist poets like Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell adapted the haiku form to English-language verse. Where there are rules, there are rebels.
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by Roger Sedarat
From Roger Sedarat’s collection of poetry Ghazal Games (2011, Ohio University Press).
Hafez, the baker, could see what I mean;
If she were a spice, she’d be cinnamon.
It’s both terrifying and exciting,
The idea that she’d see other men.
Oh God, I’d sell my soul to watch her walk;
Hear my prayer, and grant me this sin. Amen.
I heard the great poets of Shiraz sing
Through olive vein-lines of her Persian skin.
I know; this ghazal objectifies her,
Ignoring feminist criticism.
Reversing the Cinderella story,
She turns all princes into cindermen.
“Your next patient, doctor. It’s Roger S.”
“The one love sick for his wife? Send him in.”
Ghazal Games overflows with intelligent charm: its well-formed couplets, fueled by iconoclasm, are blessed with clarity, goodheartedness, pizzazz, and prankishness. Let’s crown Roger Sedarat the king of Carnival; long may he reign.
–Wayne Koestenbaum — author of Best–Selling Jewish Porn Films
Ghazal Game #1
Think of the greatest love you’ve ever had ( ).
Write his/her name in the space provided_____.
As long as you reiterate this name,
The semblance of this ghazal is complete:_____!
Don’t doubt, no matter what terror may come,
That God will fill your emptiness with Dear_____.
For me, Janette. For Dante, Beatrice.
For Rumi, Shams-y-Tabriz. And for you?_____.
Space makes the greatest rhyme. Sufis know this,
In spite of their lust for someone just like_____.
Now burn your useless books! You’ll learn much more
Inside schoolhouses of desire taught by_____.
Is it so silly, making readers work?
Doesn’t most poetry ask you to find_____?
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here
To join (state your full name) and (state his/hers)_____…”
Computer code, universal language,
Breaks down when translating the essence of_____.
Would you obsess over your petty shame?
Instead, substitute it with a kiss from_____.
All maps lead you to bliss. Your G.P.S.
Just estimates the time and distance to_____.
Before the loggers come for the last tree,
Write this last line with a sharp knife: I ? _____.
At this point, do you think you really chose_____?
Before you were born, you were chosen by_____!