Shamseddin Hafez, although born some six hundred years ago in southern Iran, is a contemporary and universal poet. Wherever Persian is known, he is easily recited by both King and common man. Even illiterates will recite a memorized verse of Hafez. Those uncertain about matters of love, fortune, the future or any other situation open a page of his collection of poems at random and in it see their dilemmas untangled. His turn of phrase has enriched the Persian lexicon and, even more than Shakespeare in English, has entered everyday language. This has made him the Persian culture’s most read, quoted and revered figure.
His verse not only gives a panoramic insight into the culture of Persia but also window into understanding the universal soul.
Reza Ordoubadian, being born in Iran; well-read in Persian and English poetry and prose; and teaching English literature at an American university has the perfect résumé for a translator of Hafez. He understands the nuances of Hafez’s language and thought—that they are as relevant and universal today as the day they were originally penned. In these translations of 202 of his most beloved ghazals, Hafez, one of humanity’s greatest poets, becomes easier accessible in a more authentic and faithful version to the English language reader.