menu Arc Poetry Magazine

Topic: John Thompson

Yvonne Blomer on John Thompson's "Ghazal XXI"

(How Poems Work, March 2004)
The ghazal (pronounced “guzzle”) is a Persian form of poetry brought to Canada by John Thompson with the posthumous publication of his second book, _Stilt Jack_ in 1978.
Though Thompson and those after him have simplified the English form, the ghazal remains image-based rather than narrative: the poet ties couplets together through recurring objects and images.
_Ghazal XXI_ is a series of nine couplets. The poem is a slow, visual progression from poem to fish hook out into the world of nature and back. It is broken into two sentences, but punctuated to show the relationship between lines in couplets and objects in those lines, so that the poem is the hook, the women are the wind….