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Oh something good tonight will make me forget about you for now.
January 28, 2014 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Writer Teju Cole, perhaps inspired by Agha Shahid Ali, has continued his Twitter experimentation by using out of context retweets to create Ghazals.

A Ghazal In Real Time
A Ghazal for Now
A Ghazal In This Moment
A Ghazal Now Right Now
A Ghazal Just Once

Teju Cole previously previously previously previously previously

The Ghazal previously
posted by ghharr (14 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

Awesome. My favorite is the "in this Moment" ending where he magically inserts his own thoughts.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:18 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

A very interesting experiment, but I'm not sure Cole's quite getting it yet. The ghazal is one of the most abused borrowed forms played with by western poets (as Shahid himself would have been the first to point out).

A found poem does not equal a ghazal, even if it has the rhythmic repetition, and calling a bunch of cool lines a ghazal (I assume we're supposed to mentally break each tweet into two lines of a couplet) does not magically impart that melancholy, elliptical, longing *somethingness* that a ghazal needs to have (including the metaphorically-erotic tension between the two lines of each couplet).

That said, I hope he keeps at it. Doing this live with tweets makes it a very public experiment and I know Cole's hardly a shy writer. Still, some poetry experiments might be better done in drafts that one then crafts into something better.
posted by aught at 11:21 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

where he magically inserts his own thoughts.

I might be wrong, but I presumed that was a result of people (fans / followers) making tweets that would fit the topical phrase he was searching for for a given ghazal, so they might get included.
posted by aught at 11:26 AM on January 28

I might be wrong, but I presumed that was a result of people (fans / followers) making tweets that would fit the topical phrase he was searching for for a given ghazal, so they might get included.

Most of the tweets he used (including that one) are fairly old.
posted by ghharr at 11:31 AM on January 28

Most of the tweets he used (including that one) are fairly old.

Duh, it didn't even occur to me to look at dates, I was so caught up in the language of the tweets!
posted by aught at 11:51 AM on January 28

This is fun. However, I wish he chose to call it something else than a Ghazal. Ghazals have a very strict prosodic and metric requirement. Very few of his retweets are even close to be in the required meter.

I liked some of them though. Like this retweet from

"good news: there's going to be a sequel to THE PURGE. bad news: it's going to be told in real-time."

to follow this matalaa (first/opening couplet) of a Ghazal by Agha Shahid Ali:

"I’ll do what I must if I’m bold in real time.
A refugee, I’ll be paroled in real time."
posted by v9y at 11:54 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]

I'm a wounded bird, he said, in a gilded cage, he kept
me chained and beating my wings against teh bars
posted by infini at 12:53 PM on January 28

Do not spray into eyes, I have sprayed you into my eyes

Although I'm not entirely sure how this fits.
posted by sneebler at 3:22 PM on January 28

Fans of this might also enjoy moonmilk's Pentametron. Some of my favorite recent output:

I won a chocolate bar in school today
Mistakes were clearly made along the way.

What's your predictions for the #SuperBowl ?
She's superficial with a rotten soul.

My idol! Kendrick is a #Lakers fan
I walk away a wiser, weaker man.

forgiveness is a privilege not a right
Don't ask her on a straight tequila night

I'm getting back into the gym today

My new obsession after ruby red
food, shower, cellphone search, assignment, bed.

Spent money on unnecessary stuff !
My birthday isn't coming fast enough.

My future holds alot including you
And online shopping sounds fantastic too
posted by straight at 3:48 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]

This is not ghazal. It is hip hop.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:50 AM on January 29

Its not Udhas, its Cole.
posted by infini at 10:26 AM on January 29

♥♥♥♥♥♥ Teju Cole. Probably the single finest follow on twitter with BintBattuta and EdYong (i think he's edyong109_ or some such, but ed yong will find him in search)
posted by maiamaia at 12:33 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]

there's a twitter limerick on the news, called the twitmerick, i believe, which isn't essential but is usually good fun
posted by maiamaia at 12:35 PM on January 29

and there's sixwordstories, lots of people like olivia dresher who write type stuff, my_Melina is similar in French. African Proverbs is ace. Hari Kunzru is good on twitter. Contentions (less koan than koan). TweetsOfOld is bits of old C19/early C20 USA papers, eg they did children's letters to Santa at christmas ('i want a gun and a banjo' summed up my mental image of america). VeryShortStory is excellent.
posted by maiamaia at 12:45 PM on January 29

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