Born in Tehran in 1925 . Ahmad Shamlou was a prolific poet . translator . editor. Reciter and compiler of folklore par excellence . no wonder he was called “a culture all by himself ” by Ateshi . a fellow Iranian poet . his literary career spans half a century of contemporary Iranian and universal consciousness and is profoundly fused with avid journalist he was for most of his life actively producing influential literary periodicals . affected by prominent foreign poets such as Mayakovsky , Lorca , Eluard and Langston Hughes, he created poetic translation of their work presenting some of them in taped cassettes with his own impressive recitation .

Poignant and momentous Shamlou’s poetry appeared in a dozen volumes from Fresh Air to dagger in the Dish  and on the threshold. Starting in the Nimaic mode and meters Shamlou gradually found his own distinct language and style a marvelous fusion of colloquial and archaic idioms . his most characteristic .poems ( aside from folk verses such as ” Parya ” or the Fairies) are free verse resonant with rime and speech rhythms . developing into a kind of epic lyricism . in denouncing metrical patterns – classical and Nimaic he compares poetry to a volcanic eruption from the silent floor of the ocean a ” spontaneous overflow” ( in words worth’s  terms) that cannot be contained within the frame of certain pre-determined meters and conventional forms.

Shamlou boldly expanded poetry into the most intimate domains of private experience,  as well as bitter political realities.  Combining epic grandeur with lyrical finesse,  he developed a poetic genre that perpetuated contemporary social experience in

the collective consciousness of Iranians.  His major poetry is marked by a relentless conflict between love and hate,  liberty and bondage,  tenderness and brutality,  beauty and catastrophe.  In the”Nocturnals”,  which comprise some of his most memorable poems,  a yearning to enjoy life and natural beauty is constantly menaced by impending political disaster and brutality.

Shamlou’s great contribution to Iranian culture also includes a monumental,  multi volume dictionary of folklore and colloquial idioms Ketabe kouche(the book of the street),  which he single-handedly started.

When Ahmad Shamlou died in August 2000,  tens of thousands of mourners,  young and old,  turned out in his funeral,  and chanted out his verse in tribute to a great bard whose words are engraved in their conscience.

Saeed Saeedpoor



The day after


In the last moment

The last empathic sage of life

Made the war – chariot a contraption

That made of the car’s fuel combustion

And the fire of his gun’s ammunition

An elixir that further fertilized the earth

And prevented the space from pollution

The day after

در واپسین دم

واپسین خردمند غم خوار حیات

ارابه ی جنگی را تمهیدی کرد

که از دود سوخت رانه و احتراق خرج سلاح اش

اکسیری می ساخت

که خاک را بارورتر می کرد و

فضا را آلودگی مانع می شد!

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