Skip to main content

formal poetry

“In That Thicket of Bitter Roots”: The Ghazal in America

Contemporary metrical verse surprises many learned readers simply by existing. For all the reasons that Paul Fussell summarizes and for a great number more, much of the liveliest recent scholarship concludes that literary and cultural history dooms this poetry to failure, irrelevance, or political and aesthetic conservatism.


We tell the story every year—
how we peered from the windows, shades drawn—
though nothing really happened,
the charred grass now green again.