The Love Poems Of Ahmad Shamlu by Firoozeh Papan-Matin

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Ahmad Shamlu (1925-2000) is among the most celebrated figures of contemporary Iranian literature. The poems presented here, capture ShamluÂ’s unique depictions of love. The narrator in these poems is a man intoxicated by the love of a woman; a woman whom we meet in the body of his love poetry; a female presentation whose characteristics are not fixed.

Due to Shamlu's widely recognized prominence within the intellectual opposition, the mainstream approach to his poetry has largely evaluated it in terms of the socio-political background of the poet's era. Taking issue with this limiting approach, the present work emphasizes an alternative reading of Shamlu, based on a primarily aesthetic analysis of the theme of aphrodisiac love in his poetry. More specifically, the present text is focused on the poet/lover's meditation on a beloved elevated to the stature of a goddess. This woman's metaphoric identity casts her as the muse and the audience. She is, with all her attendant dangers, the poet's realization of beauty and desire for being.

The Love Poems of Ahmad Shamlu incorporates poems that trace the development of the relationship among the lover, the beloved, and love, in ShamluÂ’s poetry. The selection includes poems that go back to the beginning of ShamluÂ’s career when he was still experimenting with language and style in search of his own poetic voice. The chapters preceding the poems in translation, provide some insight into the life of Shamlu as well as his poetry.

This work has valuable scholarly and pedagogic implications. While it is a contribution to the scholarship on the work of Shamlu, it also provides a concise translated collection that can be useful for students of Persian language and literature. This work can also serve as a textbook for courses in comparative and Persian literatures. Considering the growing interest in Persian poetry during the recent years, this book will further be of interest for audiences beyond speakers of Persian.


About Firoozeh Papan-Matin

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Professor of Persian at the University of Washington.
Published December 1, 2005 by IBEX Publishers. 188 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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As a young girl reeling from the revolution in Iran in 1979, author Roya Hakakian discovered the great Persian poet Ahmad Shamlou. His poems made her realize the importance of breaking from tradition. Has a poem ever changed your thinking this way? Tell us in the comments.

Jan 13 2013 | Read Full Review of The Love Poems Of Ahmad Shamlu

ForeWord Reviews

The last of four “Rhapsodies for Aida” opens especially beautifully: “Your kisses / are chattering sparrows of the orchard / Your breasts / the hive of all the hillsides / your body / an eternal mystery / granted to me / in an immense privacy.” Papan-Matin’s translations are readable if not esp...

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