Academic journal article Transnational Literature

The Beloved in Nader Naderpour's Poetry

Academic journal article Transnational Literature

The Beloved in Nader Naderpour's Poetry

Article excerpt

Nader Naderpour (1929-2000), an Iranian poet who spent the last years of his life in the United States and died there, is not well known in the English-speaking world. He is a poet whose sensitivities are unforgettable for many Persian readers. His main concerns in poetry were nature, romance, and passage of time (youth, old age, and death).1 His poems were written over decades and cover a variety of subjects, so it is hard to pigeonhole him into a single school of poetry.

Classical Persian poetry followed strict rules of prosody and rhyme and the subject matter was more less fixed. But the atmosphere of the change in the subject matter of poetry including new issues of patriotism, freedom, feminism, and proletarian literature had already started with the Constitutional Revolution (1905-1911).2 After the accession of Reza Shah to power in 1925, a new movement known as the New Poetry, which challenged the established form of poetry, emerged. The leader of the literary movement was Nima Yushij (pen name for Ali Esfandyari, 1895-1960), who manipulated rhythm and rhyme and allowed the length of the line to be determined by the depth of the thought rather than by the established metrical rules. The reign of Reza Shah (1925-1941) which marked the end of the post-Constitutional period helped give rise to a kind of romanticism roughly comparable to the French romanticism. Disillusioned with social movements, poets preferred seclusion and took refuge in nature in that period. When Reza Shah was deposed in 1941 upon the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, the pressure of the deposed king's regime on Iranian intellectuals slackened, until the coup against Prime Minister Mosaddegh in 1953. Before the coup, there was a sense of mission and commitment to society among intellectuals and poets but after the coup, they felt insignificant and paralysed. There was a shattering of their dreams so many sought refuge in the world of imagination and seclusion again. The poet in this era was introverted, sullen, defeated, and dissident.3 The quarter of a century between the coup and the 1979 revolution brought about certain new changes in Persian poetry including a further development of the romantic and individualistic trend an offshoot of which was erotic poetry.

Havasnāma or erotic poetry is an old but not very popular genre in Persian literature. The post-coup pessimism and sense of failure accounted for its rise. It was an unconscious outlet of dismay and a conscious vent for forgetfulness. The carpe diem philosophy which was the hallmark of Naderpour's poetry in those days prompted some of his contemporaries to criticise him for his lack of commitment and responsibility.4

The New Poetry movement in Iran not only broke away from the established rules but also updated the reservoir of themes by introducing subjects that met the need of modern Iranians. Naderpour very cautiously steered away from the traditional poetry and embraced the changes in form and content. Shams Langroudi (pen name for Javaheri Gilani), a contemporary Iranian poet and author, maintained that 'Naderpour's moderate and neo-classical poetry attracted most audiences in the 1950s because of the romantic and living images, addressing deep sensibilities and anxieties in modern human beings, and the ease and fluency of language.'5 For this reason, Morteza Kakhi calls Naderpour a colossal secure bridge that helped his contemporary poets pass over from the prevalent old poetry to the New Poetry era.6 Long before Kakhi, Nouri-ala referred to Naderpour and a few others as the pillars of the bridge connecting the classical to the new poetry.7

Naderpour's evolution as a poet was steady and consistent over decades of literary activity. In 1950s, he was already well-known with the publication of Chashmhā va dasthā (Eyes and Hands, 1954), Dokhtar-e jām (Daughter of the Cup, 1955), and She 'r-e angūr (The Grapes Poem, 1958). Thus when Sormehy-e khorshīd (The Sun 's Kohl, 1960) came out, he was already at the pinnacle of fame. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.