While Iran in the twentieth century has been associated with profound political change, the significance of its aesthetic transformation remains relatively unknown. Along with a constitutional and Islamic revolution, modern Iran also experienced a radical break from its over one-thousand-year old formal poetic tradition. Given the long established prosody of Persian verse that relied upon a ubiquitous set of tropes (nightingales, roses, etc.), such a literary shift proves drastically more significant than comparable romantic or free verse movements in British or American poetry.
As a representative twentieth-century Persian poet, Nader Naderpour effectively begins to challenge the distance between reader and text. Using common language to reach his audience in a colloquial voice, he nevertheless retains a nostalgic relationship to nature through vividly accessible images. In this respect he seems to embody an ongoing transition to modern poetics in Iran. His sensibility to nature especially affords a way of understanding in English translation both his own specific work, as well as the complex country from which it derives.
Called “the hinge” by a Persian literary critic for his connecting Iran’s classical and modern poetic traditions, Nader Naderpour remains relatively unknown in the West. The only one significant scholarly study of his verse in English predates the publication of his later, arguably more significant, writing. This new book importantly examines the most representative poems from the poet’s many collections, rendered into English by co-translators and scholars able to provide apt scholarly context for the verse. By focusing on the poet’s use of natural imagery, the authors provide an accessible way to understand and appreciate an integral poet of Iran’s “New Poetry” movement as well as the disparate western and eastern influences upon his verse. This book especially demonstrates Naderpour’s ability to retain a romantic lyricism in the decadent age of modernism.
In their study of a seminal twentieth-century Persian poet, Rouhollah Zarei and Roger Sedarat offer the first sustained examination of nature throughout the trajectory of Nader Naderpour’s oeuvre. By positioning natural imagery in the poet’s native Iran as well as juxtaposing it against comparable well-known romantic poets in the west like John Keats, this book offers a thorough and accessible introduction to the poet who best exemplifies a transition from Iran’s classical to its modern tradition. Bio-critical insights, along with apt cultural and linguistic Persian context, provide an illuminating analysis of verse from a Nobel Prize nominee yet to be appreciated by English readers and scholars.
Nature and Nostalgia in the Poetry of Nader Naderpour is an important book for Iranian literary scholarship as well as translation and comparative/world literature studies. It is also of interest to those English readers inclined to explore poets from foreign traditions.