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A peek into Iranian society: Works of renowned Iranian poets out in new anthology

“Modern Poetry of Iran” comprises works of renowned Iranian poets, translated into English by Delhi-based Persian scholar Aziz Mahdi.

books Updated: Jul 20, 2017 11:51 IST

A new anthology of more than 85 acclaimed Persian poems gives readers powerful insights into Iranian society, touching upon various aspects of human existence and emotions – from God and nature to love and sorrow and from indulgence and denial to the subconscious and the abstract.

“Modern Poetry of Iran” comprises works of renowned Iranian poets, translated into English by Delhi-based Persian scholar Aziz Mahdi.

Persian poetry surpassed the borders of modern Iran during a period of eight centuries and expanded its wings over the Indian subcontinent, where it reached new heights of success, complexity as well as simplicity.

While Persian strengthened the bonds between the two countries, providing literary advancements to the land of its brothers; as a return gift, India gave Persian the famous ‘Indian style’ of poetry.

According to Mahdi, this collection, published by Rupa, covers poets who are “somewhat under-represented” in the translated anthologies that have been made available to the readers across the world, till now.

The purpose behind compiling this volume was to fill the void in modern Persian poetry, he says.

“This collection is an introduction to some of the finest examples of modern Persian poems written over the last 100 years, starting from Nima Yushij (the father of modern Persian poetry) until now.

“A variety of themes, including the mystical, the social, the abstract, and love and politics, have been covered in this book. The imagistic, rhetorical and personal characteristics of Persian poetry are portrayed in the poems included in this volume,” he says.

Mahdi feels works by contemporary Persian poets like Yushij, Akhavan Sales, Sohrab Sepehri, Furugh Farrrokhzad, Qeysar Aminpour, Shafiee Kadkani, Ali Reza Qazveh and Mohammad Javad Asman among others, have been neglected by the translation societies of the world.

“The reason may lie in the political trenches or wherever else it may; but the fact remains that Persian poetry is worthy enough and must be translated,” he says.

Some of the poems in the collection are Yushij’s ‘Moonlight’, ‘Mother’ and ‘Spring in an Elevator’ by Qazveh, Asman’s ‘Deja Vu’, and ‘Beloved House’ by Sepehri.

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