Poetry

The Shahnameh is the national epic of Persia. Like many epics, it is framed as a history— not the history of a war (The Iliad) or of an individual (The Odyssey) or of a mythical turning point in a people’s self-creation (The Aeneid), but of many wars, many individuals and many such turning points. The sweep and psychological depth of the Shahnameh is nothing less than magnificent. In its pages are unforgettable moments of national triumph and failure, human courage and cruelty, blissful love and bitter grief. It explores loyalty, familial conflict, duty; it chronicles the burdens of empire and the resentments and rebellions of the misused; it recounts the striving for justice and civilized order in times of turmoil and danger.

    [tabber] About the Book The Layered Heart : Essays on Persian Poetry is published in celebration of the poet and scholar Dick Davis, dubbed “our pre-eminent translator from Persian” by The Washington Post. Edited by Ali-Asghar Seyed-Ghorab, Associate Professor of Persian at Leiden University, the volume includes twenty-one essays about Persian culture and literature, ranging from… [read more>>]

    The power of poetry to map the human heart has been a hallmark of Persian culture for at least a thousand years, and Fatemeh Shams wields it unforgettably. As a member of the Iranian diaspora living in the West, her voice is often one of anguished separation, and many of her poems touch on politics.

    Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz

    “The translations of all three poets are superb, and they open up a new world even for those who know Persian well….Davis has managed, better than anyone else so far, to give a rendering that makes these translations come alive and sing.” W. L. Hanaway, emeritus, University of Pennsylvania, CHOICE.

    Persian text of the poems in Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz

    [tabber] About the Book English version of Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz >> [/tabber] [tabber] Reviews In this heady volume of wine, roses, nightingales, and forbidden trysts, Dick Davis shows us three faces of medieval Persian love poetry: the elusively mystical, the searingly personal, and the gleefully profane. For those of… [read more>>]

    Vis & Ramin

    Vis & Ramin is one of the world’s great love stories. It was the first major Persian romance, written between 1050 and 1055 in rhyming couplets. This remarkable work has now been superbly translated into heroic couplets (the closest metrical equivalent of the Persian) by the poet and scholar Dick Davis.

    Vis & Ramin

    Vis & Ramin is one of the world’s great love stories. It was the first major Persian romance, written between 1050 and 1055 in rhyming couplets. This remarkable work has now been superbly translated into heroic couplets (the closest metrical equivalent of the Persian) by the poet and scholar Dick Davis.

    SHAHNAMEH: The Persian Book of Kings

    “It is almost impossible to exaggerate the influence of [the Shahnameh] on the national culture of Iran…it marks the definitive emergence of New Persian as a language of literature and culture… in much the same way as the Authorized Version of the Bible anchored English. The vigorous simple language of the poem is easily comprehensible to educated Iranians a thousand years after it was written.” – Times Literary Supplement.

    Among the masterpieces of world literature, perhaps the least familiar to English readers is the Persian book of Kings (Shahnameh, in Persian). This prodigious national epic, composed by the poet Ferdowsi between 980 and 1010, tells the story of ancient Persia, beginning in the mythic time of Creation and continuing forward to the Arab-Islamic invasion in the seventh century.

    “This splendid book is the second in a projected set of three volumes that will recount all the major events of the Persian national epic, the Shahnama or Book of Kings. Written in rhyming couplets by the poet Firdawsi and completed in about 1010, the epic runs to more than 40,000 lines.” – W. L. Hanaway, emeritus, University of Pennsylvania.

    Sunset of Empire: Stories from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi: Volume III

    With our third and final volume of stories from the Shahnameh we move from mythology and legend to romanticized history. Here the mighty events that shook ancient Persia from the time of Alexander of Macedon’s conquest to the Arab invasion of the seventh century C.E. are reflected in the stirring and poignant narratives of Ferdowsi, the master poet who took on himself the task of preserving his country’s great pre-Islamic heritage.