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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms

Chris Baldick

ghazal (ghasel; gazal; ghazel) 

A short lyric poem written in couplets using a single rhyme (aa, ba, ca, da, etc.), sometimes mentioning the poet's name in the last couplet. The ghazal is an important lyric form in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu poetry, often providing the basis for popular love songs. Its usual subject-matter is amatory, although it has been adapted for religious, political, and other uses. Goethe and other German poets of the early 19th century wrote some imitations of the Persian ghazal, and the form has been adopted by a number of modern American poets, notably Adrienne Rich.