Sunday, April 12, 2015


I am working on writing two classes for an upcoming Atlantian event in May called Cooks and Performers. I am working on Ottoman poetry and Ottoman storytelling classes, specifically. I was re-checking all the things I needed to run the arts and sciences for our Spring Coronation and saw the Poeta Atlantia competition, to decide the royal poet, would be there. Then I thought about how I'd been absent from writing for a few years now. Next I thought about how no one in this kingdom knows that I'm a writer...because I haven't really written anything since I got here. Finally, I realized that I should probably put something out there so people know I have a leg to stand on when I teach about these things. 

So, I entered the requisite two pieces. I was approached by several people that they loved my first piece, especially. I was also told that I was just a smidgen away from winning the competition. Here is the second piece that entered. It was requested that we write something in honor of their Majesties being crowned that day. I decided to do a Ghazel. It was the easiest Ottoman form that judges could look up if they were unfamiliar with...which I assumed they would be. 

Coronation Ghazel for Logan and Esa
                        Lady Eilon bat Miriam, MKA Brianne Galgano
                                                        Coronation A.S. XLIX

Tremble this day of Spring that brings with it the Might of Atlantia.
Revel  in the warmth and magic that flows from the Majesty of Atlantia.
Banners with wind do stream behind the parades of those who gather.
A promise once made,  finally fulfilled,  to return to the thrones of Atlantia.
Fierce and Tempered; For so kind and gentle a leader in he you'd not expect.
Watch how he trains our young combatants; he's earned the grace due Atlantia.
Beautiful and graceful she; For so powerful and strong you'd not presume.
Behold the inspiration she leaves in her wake;  she is a mother to Atlantia.
Tarry not, this day of Spring, we await the new crowns to claim their seat.
Humble am I, Eilon, to be present to share in the glory of their reign over Atlantia.

The Documentation I submitted for the competition:

This poem,  in honor of their Majesties,  is in the form of an Ottoman Ghazel.
In short, Ghazels consist of 5 - 15 couplets with a rhyming structure of:  aa/ba/ca/da/ea.  
The initial couplet, the matla, should rhyme.  The end of each couplet thereafter should rhyme the matla. The final line, the maqta,  should act as the conclusion or point of the piece. The poet's name is sometimes part of the maqta as a signature/title. Redd-i matla is another way of ending the poem where the poet repeats one of the matla directly for a bookend effect.

Exemplar  - Baqi (1526-1600) "Dil derd-i 'ishq-i yar ile bezm-i belada dir," Ghazel:

                All sick the heart with love for her, sad at the feast of woe;
                Bent form, the harp; low wail, the flute; heart's blood for with doth flow.
                Prone lies the frame her path's dust 'neath, in union's stream the eye.
                In air the mind, the soul 'midst separation's fiery glow.
                O ever shall it be my lot, zone-like, thy waist to clasp!
                'Twixt us, O love, the dagger-blade of severance doth show!
                Thou art the Queen of earth, thy cheeks are Towers of might, this day
                Before thy Horse, like Pawns, the Kings of grace and beauty go.
                Him hinder not, beside thee let him creep, o Shade-like stay!
                Baqi, thy servant, O my Queen, before thee lieth low.

As this poem was to commemorate their Majesties coronation, the best rhyme to use ended up being directly, "Atlantia." 

Ottoman Poetry Annotated Bibliography

Gibb, Elias John Wilkinson. A History of Ottoman Poetry Volume 1. University of Michigan.

  • Digital Copy provided by google books. Original printing Luzac & Co., London. 1900.         &authuser=0&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA51. 5 October 2014.

Gibb, Elias John Wilkinson. Ottoman Literature: The Poets and Poetry of Turkey.  2012.

  • Forgotten Books Facsimile Reprint: M. Walter Dunne, Publisher, London.  1901. "Translated from the Arabic with introductions and biographical notes by the author. With Arabian, Persian and Hebrew poems and special Introduction by Theodore P. Ion, J.D. " Contains many pre 17th century poetry examples.

Halman, Talat S. A Millennium of Turkish Literature: A Concise History.  Syracuse University Press. Syracuse, NY 2011.

  • Contains a fair amount of information on structure and cultural importance. Not  many examples but, does offer comparative examples to other translated versions of poems in other sources.

Lewis, Bernard. Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems.
Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ. 2001.
  • Translation by author. Includes mini biographies of poets, and brief discussion of poetry structures and cultural importance. 

My Thoughts post competition:

This is not the best example of a Ghazel. I had certain parameters I needed to follow and a short period of time (my fault entirely). I found an example piece that barely touched on the idea of praising a monarch. In this case it is more that Baqi is professing his idealized and most likely unrequited love for a lady of nobility or otherwise someone he cannot attain. I found another piece that was actually very much in praise and honor of a noble but, sadly, it was post period. 

In terms of rhymes it is uninspired. It really is just one more "Rah, Kingdom,"  "Praise their Majesties," kind of poem. I don't often find them original or inspiring to begin with so, I suppose I am biased that way. I did find a small personal observation on each of their majesties that I utilized. I am proud of this poem only because it made it personal. That is the best thing about poetry, to me. You can analyze all you want, but it's true meaning is always the author's little secret; specifically chosen words for reasons the reader may never comprehend. A reader/listener is going to associate the words and sounds their own way, comparing it to their own experience. If it touches the audience in any way the author has succeeded. 

I have several ghazels and other Ottoman poetry in varying stages of done. When I am closer to finished and have a better work up of my class handouts and research I will post them here. 

The Bibliography is a work in progress. I mainly copied the overall annotated source list I have thus far for my class. It is an ever expanding document. I am still working on the annotation part. I forgot to mention in my documentation the the exemplar was pulled from Gibb's "Ottoman Literature." 

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