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Poetry Masterclass Five – The Ghazal with Mona Arshi

The Ghazal – an exploration of form and culture with Mona Arshi – Monday 19 April 2021 


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Mona Arshi

A poet of exquisite delicacy and natural poetic flair, Mona will inspire by discussing examples of her favourite ghazals, how the form reflects a radically different philosophy to western traditions. She will compare the ghazal with the sonnet and other forms, examine its tradition and the history and culture its rooted in. What are the challenges and obstacles for poets writing in this form which is circular as opposed to linear? How far can and should western poets veer away from its formal structures?  We will look at writers such as Agha Shahid Ali, Marilyn Hacker,  Judith Wright and Tracy K Smith and other poets and their attempts to transform and revitalise the form.

There will be plenty of time for discussion and a chance to write and share the makings of your own ghazal.  In the process, you’ll find new perspectives in writing and exploring form, becoming more aware of cultural preferences.

The Ghazal

Perhaps the oldest poetic form still in use, the ghazal is composed of couplets often sung, with intonations of melancholy, love, longing and metaphysical questions. It has it’s roots in 7th Century Arabia and was picked up in the 13th & 14th Century by Persian poets such as Rumi & Hafiz. In the 18th Century, the form thrived in Urdu.

Mona Arshi worked as human rights lawyer at Liberty before she started writing poetry. Her debut collection ‘Small Hands’ won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015. Her poems and interviews have been published in The Times, The Guardian, Granta and The Times of India as well as on the London Underground. Mona’s second collection ‘Dear Big Gods’ was published in 2019 by Liverpool University Press. Her debut novel ‘Somebody Loves You’ will be published in 2021. In the last few years Mona has judged some of the most prestigious poetry prizes in the UK, including the TS Eliot Prize, The Forwards,  and The National Poetry Prize.

Limited to 14 people only. 2.5hrs long with a short break.


Please double check your timezones – UK 10.30am // Western Australia 5.30pm // Australian EST 7.30pm

A useful link for checking other time zones:


£27GBP // $55AUD


Online on Zoom


Apr 19 2021

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Apr 19 2021




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