Saturday, October 30, 2010
Nima Yushij: Animating Modernism in Persian Poetry
A comment by a fellow blogger friend on this post prompted me to look into the history of translation in Iran; and luckily I stumbled on this title:
Nima Yushij (or Yooshij) is the father of Persian Modern Poetry, the so called "شعر نو" (She'r-e No). His contribution to Persian literature comes from breaking with the millennium-old tradition of rhyme and length of a given verse, allowing the imagery of the verse determine its rhythm (even that no longer formulated in almost mathematical beats) and length.
Although resisted to by the usual literary dinosaurs, Nima inspired a generation of modernist poets, not only in form but also in meanings they created.
You can read a nice biography of Nima from the Amazon-inside-look at the book (pages 11-62). The Introduction written by professor Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, who has also edited the book. It is interesting to see how the little village boy, who was educated in a French Catholic School, and was influenced by the Russian revolution, by two World Wars, set the foundation of what, according to Karimi-Hakkak, is the only true accomplished modernism in Iran.
There are a few translations (relatively true to the imagery but not to the language, as you need to know Persian to recognize the syntactic playfulness) following a short biography, by Iraj Bashiri.
Posted by Naj