Hip-Hop Ghazal

by Patricia Smith

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Ghazal

Step 1

Have your students go over the definition of a “ghazal.”

Step 2

Read Patricia Smith’s “Hip-Hop Ghazal” to show them what a ghazal looks like in written form. Then, just for fun, show them the performance of Patricia Smith’s “Hip-Hop Ghazal.”

Step 3

In Patricia Smith’s poem, she illustrates the deep sense of community that hip-hop elicits. Tell your students to take a few minutes to think of something that they feel as passionately about, something that brings them a sense of joy, satisfaction, and community the same way that hip-hop does for Patricia Smith. Then have them share their responses.

Step 4

Tell your students to write a ghazal about a subject that brings them joy or elicits a sense of community. Use the embedded tutorial to take your students through the basic steps.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are: tone, selection of detail, structure, imagery, and diction.

Step 2

Read “Hip-Hop Ghazal” by Patricia Smith. Then briefly talk about the poem and the poetic devices/ techniques that contribute to the poem’s message.

Step 3

Have your students open the following article entitled “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry.” The article is quite lengthy, so you may want to pare it down or assign only select parts of the text.

Step 4

Then have your students open the following document in which they’ll be working and go over the directions with them. For this assignment, the students are going to have to find similar concepts or themes between the poem and the article and link them with one another.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share some of their responses with the rest of the class.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Aging
  • Appreciation
  • Community / Culture
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Race / Ethnicity / Racism

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure
  • Tone