The Ghazal Creator is a tool meant to assist in the authoring of ghazals, making its structure easily visible, and using digital tools to help suggest the syllables, rhymes, and repetitions that make up its poetic form. (To learn more about the history of the ghazal, or about the ghazal as a poetic form, please see the Introduction page.)
The Ghazal Creator uses a series of color-coded "blocks" to define the various structures within each couplet of the ghazal form. To illustrate this, let's look at an excerpt of a ghazal (called "Ghazal") by Agha Shahid Ali. See below:
I’ll do what I must if I’m bold in real time.
A refugee, I’ll be paroled in real time.
Cool evidence clawed off like shirts of hell-fire?
A former existence untold in real time ...
The one you would choose: Were you led then by him?
What longing, O Yaar, is controlled in real time?
Each syllable sucked under waves of our earth—
The funeral love comes to hold in real time!
The sections in purple represents the "refrain" of the poem, which is established as the final word or phrase of the first line, and then repeated on every even-numbered line thereafter.
The sections in green represents the rhyming word that immediately precedes the refrain. This word is established on the first line, and then repeated immediately preceding the refrain on every even-numbered line thereafter.
The odd-numbered lines are free-form, and do not require either the rhyme or the refrain.
All lines should have the same number of syllables, although meter is not enforced in English-language ghazals.
The Ghazal Creator tool uses these same color-coded blocks to differentiate the parts of a ghazal's lines and couplets. These blocks also make use of digital tools that will help suggest rhymes for the rhyme blocks, and automatically repeat the text of the refrain blocks.
In addition, the lines will also count syllables as you type your poem, giving you an easy way to compare the syllable counts of each line/couplet. (Note: this syllable counting tool uses a best-guess algorithm for words that are not in the CMU Pronunciation Dictionary, and may not be fully accurate. These syllables are given as a suggestion, and are not required/enforced!).Key