Ahmad Shamlou (A Short Biography)

Posted by By at 17 May, at 13 : 36 PM Print

Ahmad Shamlou (A Short Biography)

Ahmand Shamlou and Bahman Maghsoudlou

Ahmad Shamlou, Iran’s most celebrated contemporary poet, is universally acknowledged by critics, artists and intellectuals alike, as the peer of other prominent world-renowned poets.

Born in 1925, his literary life-span covers the last 60 years. This is a literary life which has coincided with and influenced the great process of restoring and reforming Persian poetry that began with the Iranian Constitutional Revolution at the beginning of the 20th century.

Nima Yushij (1895-1958), rightfully considered the father and the creator of modern Persian poetry, introduced many techniques and forms that distinguish the Modern from the Old. His disciples popularized the new poetic forms within a country and culture that is solidly based on a thousand-year-old classical tradition. Ahmad Shamlou, standing tall among the generation who adopted Nima’s techniques, constantly sought untried ways, new poetic realms.

Shamlou is prominent both as a great historical literary figure and as a major poet. His historical contribution to the reformation of Persian poetry has been the subject of many books. But it is his preeminence as a national poet that sets him apart as Iran’s proud gift to world literature. His poetry has been translated into several languages, however it remains a relatively undiscovered treasure in the West.

Ahmad Shamlou’s poetic vision accords with both Western Modernist concepts and the modern transformation of classical Persian poetry. He is a humanist and a socially minded intellectual who has skillfully woven personal love and affection together with his social attitudes. He lives always with hope and his passion for justice.

Shamlou has been a journalist, a playwright, a translator and a broadcaster. And in each of these worlds he has been an influential innovator and leader for at least three generations of Iranian intellectuals. He represents all that is finest among Iranian intellectuals in the second half of the 20th century.

He is now an ailing, one-legged old man living in the seclusion of a house far from the center of Tehran. But everybody knows that the vein of Iranian intellectuality and liberal thinking is pulsating in this house. You can find the recording of his poetry, with his own voice, in almost every house in Iranian cities. He has turned into a myth in his life. His words have the magic of a prophet. He does not lead by decree. He just lives, and his life and words scatter through the minds and hearts of generations of Iranian humanists and liberals, giving them hope and inspiration.

It now seems no accident that he chose the pen name “Bamdad” (meaning Morning) for himself at an early stage of his literary life.

Ahmad Shamlou’s letter to Bahman Maghsoudlou (English)

Ahmad Shamlou’s letter to Bahman Maghsoudlou (Persian)



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