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Poetry Masterclass: The Modern Ghazal with Mona Arshi 25/10/21

Mona Arshi explores one of the oldest poetic forms, the ghazal, it’s canonical  form and what happens when it is transformed into the ‘postmodern.’ Can you adapt or repurpose the ghazal with contemporary Western poetics? What elements are kept and what elements can be omitted or adapted to retain to the essential spirit of the ghazal? What is the affect if you dispense with the rhyme, refrain, couplets or signature elements of the form? Writing a ghazal takes you into a different terrain, culturally, musically and also in terms of  philosophy .What are the challenges that are brought to bear when Western poets take up the form in English?

Mona will look at the foundations and philosophy of ghazals and explore a different ways that poets across the globe are re-engaging with this mercurial form using different examples from a variety of authors including Agha Shahid Ali and Mimi Khalvati, and Australian writers such as  Judith Wright and Philip Slalom.

There will be plenty of time for discussion and to ask your questions about how to read and write ghazals.

If you came to her ghazal masterclass in April, there will be considerable overlap reflecting on the features of the ghazal, but she will look at different examples.

The Ghazal: 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 a 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’ is 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.

2 hr 30 mins

Limited to 16 people

Monday 25 October
9.30am UK //4.30pm Western Australia // 7.30pm Australian AEDT e.g. Sydney   

A useful link for checking other timezones:

£30 GBP (exchange rate automatically calculated by STRIPE)

Part of the UK/Australia Season of Culture: Who are we now? How can we describe, challenge or create new connections with our land and people in the 2020s? The masterclasses reflect on contemporary approaches to poetic techniques and forms.

If this event sells out, contact me using this form TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITING LIST – I often do draw on the waiting list. Include the name of the workshop.




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Oct 25 2021

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Oct 25 2021




Online (Zoom)
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