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(History Page updated: 15 September 2005)
(Iran Page Updated: 15 September 2005)
Persian language is largely defined by its poetry. It is said as a joke, but it can well be true that "Every Iranian is a poet!" From everyday conversation to an academic article, our language is filled with poetry. In addition to that, it is a common and well established habit to use little anecdotes and idioms to prove a point or to give more flair to a conversation. That is why I have included here some of the better known pieces of Persian verse and prose. I hope you enjoy reading these pieces and come back for more!
NOTE: If you are having trouble seeing the Persian text in this page, please change the encoding of your browser to UTF-8.
Ferdowsi (Hakim Abolghasem Mansoor ebn Hassan, Ferdowsi Toosi) فردوسی توسی
Father of Persian language as we know it. His epical work, Shahnameh, chronicles the half-legendary history of ancient Iran, but its real purpose is to create a corpus of Persian language. This monumental work, completed in the 10th century, is regularly compared with Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and works of Shakespeare, while its magnitude might well surpass them.
Rumi (Mowlan Jalal Al-Din Mohammad Balkhi Rumi) مولانا جلال الدين محمد بلخی رومی
Known as Rumi in the West and as Mowlana/Mowlavi in Iran and Turkey, he is one of the most popular Persian poets and a personal favourite of mine. Lately, his poetry have become very popular in the United States and many translations of it has been published. His language is too mystical and too complicated to really be understandable in anything but Persian.
Baba Taher (Baba Taher-e Oryaan-e Hamedaani) بابا طاهر عريان همدانی
Rarely known outside Iran, this 14th century guru is a master of simple language poetry. His work is also significant because of his liberal use of local dialects.
Ommar Khayyam (Hakim Ommar Khayyam Neishabouri) حکيم عمرخيام نيشابوری
Khayyam (10th century AD) was the original pessimist! His Rubbaiyyat are the first examples of Persian poetry translated into English. You still need to know Persian to understand what he REALLY means.
Neema Yooshij (pseudonym of Ali Esfandiari) نيمايوشيج
Neema is the most influential Persian poet of the twentieth century. He changed the old style of Persian poetry and in a sense, "freed" Persian poetry from its age old restrictions. He is called the "Father of New Persian Poetry". He died in 1336 HK (1957 AD).
Hamid Mosaddeq حميد مصدق
A lawyer and a poet, he was lesser known than many of his contemporaries. He did not write a very large amount of verse, but his works have been very influential. The following poem is his most memorable work.
Fereydoon Moshiri فريدون مشيری
A favourite poet of the people and especially the youth. His poems have brought together the classical Persian poetry with Neema's blank verse. The following is his most popular piece, and a favourite of mine. Much to my personal despair and that of many others, Mr. Moshiri passed away in 2000.
Hekaayat (singular) is a short story or anecdote
that has a moral point and is usually about some famous character,
commonly a scholar or a king. Many
hekaayaat (plural) have been written by famous literary figures, probably
the most famous of them being the Hekaayaat of Sa'adi in his master
piece, Golestan. Here, I have selected some stories which
have a comical side to them. Some of them our translated into crude
English, and with addition of more anecdotes, I will translate more
pieces. The stories are in JPEG image format.
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