The Graph of a Cry

My dissertation is available as a book for academics, libraries, and those who are interested to read more about the phenomenal journey of the American ghazal.

This dissertation analyzes the journey of the ancient Arabic poetic form of the ghazal to America to provide insights into transnational poetry and cultural mobility. While the movement of other cultural forms, such as food and music, has been enthusiastically analyzed within academic study, the movement of poetic forms from one culture to another has been largely neglected, a shortcoming that this dissertation addresses. It questions why the ghazal became an accepted form in the U.S., how it differs from ghazals elsewhere, and how it has been Americanized. The research and analysis offer the understanding that the ghazal has developed into three styles of writing in America: the first that is bold and revolutionary, the second that is indirect and conventional, and the third that combines elements of both. Along with these three styles, the ghazal has become imbued with several national and local concerns, such as immigration and identity, but it has also retained some of its traditional characteristics, like its symbolic hunt and its autonomous couplets. The significance of this study is that it helps our theoretical understanding of transnational poetry by focusing on the particular and peculiar case of the American ghazal, which demonstrates how a poetic form can be transnational and at the same time contain uniquely national themes.

Publisher: Ipskamp, ISBN: 978-94-6421-824-4

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