Mimi Khalvati's Poetry
Support for studying English GCSE and A Level
Mimi Khalvati - Biography
Mimi Khalvati was born (Tehran, Iran) on 28 April 1944. She is an Iranian-British poet, children’s writer, theatre actor and director.
Khalvati spent a lot of her childhood in the Isle of Wight and went to boarding school. She returned to Iran at the age of seventeen. At the age of twenty-five, Khalvati became a resident of the UK.
Khalvati has seven collections of poetry (first book when she was forty-seven), edited anthologies and written a children’s book. She is tutor at the Arvon Foundation, and has taught creative writing at universities and colleges in the United States of America and Britain. Khalvati is also the founder of The Poetry School – in London, where she lives, she runs poetry workshops and courses.
Mimi Khalvati - 'Ghazal' - Annotation
Annotation prompts for Mimi Khalvati’s ‘Ghazal’.
'‘Ghazal’ is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain (recurring phrase – especially at the end of a stanza). It originated in Arabia – long before the birth of Islam. Ghazal can be an expression of the pain of loss / separation / beauty of love in spite of pain. Each line has same metre. Khalvati (born in Tehran, Iran - 28.04.1944) grew up on the Isle of Wight and educated in Switzerland and London. She is interested in the relationship between Iranian and British influences on her.
Ghazals traditionally deal with just one subject: love, specifically an unconditional and superior love – often divine. Each couplet has a singular thought. Are the couplets linked? The persona appears to be seeking the love of another. Is the love reciprocated or unattainable? Is it targeted at another human or a divine figure (God), or both?
Study the juxtaposed images and metaphors used in the poem. How ambiguous are the relationships mentioned?
The annotation prompts are a supportive tool, intended to encourage further poetry analysis and interpretation.